Section: Community Medical Center News

Community Medical Center Hosts ‘Click Your Knitting Needles Together’ Knit-In to Raise Awareness of Shaken Baby Syndrome


TOMS RIVER, N.J. (September 18, 2013) – Community Medical Center will host a “Knit In” on September 25 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. during which employees, volunteers and other interested participants will knit or crochet purple caps for newborns as part of the hospital’s ongoing effort to increase awareness and prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS).

A leading cause of child abuse deaths in the United States, SBS is a form of abusive head trauma and inflicted traumatic brain injury, caused by violently shaking an infant by the shoulders, arms or legs.
It’s often triggered by a baby’s inconsolable crying. Community Medical Center is one of the few hospitals in New Jersey that implements the Period of PURPLE Crying®– an evidence-based program developed by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome.

“We adopted the program to bring awareness to parents of newborns that this crying period in healthy babies typically begins at about two weeks, peaks at two-to-three months and can last as long as five months – and it’s perfectly normal, albeit frustrating,” said Gail Cudia, Maternal Child Health Educator, Community Medical Center. “By educating parents about the characteristics of normal crying – what to expect and how to react – we hope to teach them the coping skills necessary to handle this time with patience.”
Community Medical Center implemented the Period of PURPLE Crying® in July, beginning with Maternal Child Health staff receiving online video training and becoming familiar with the program’s materials. “Many of the employees who were trained in the program said how much it resonated with them – they, too, had experienced crying with their own children,” said Cudia.

One such employee, Helen Matty, administrative coordinator for medical staff, Community Medical Center, learned about the program and decided to put her crocheting experience to good use.

“When my son, Michael (now 34), was born, he cried steadily from 5 to 7:30 p.m. each night. We had no idea what caused the crying, and I can certainly remember how frustrating it was. We attributed it to colic because we didn’t know how else to explain it; we didn’t realize it was normal,” said Helen, who has crocheted for 40 years.

Helen, along with Gina Hernandez, division director of prevention programs at Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey and approximately 20 other knitters and crocheters, will be on-hand for the hospital’s Knit-In. Community Medical Center will issue the purple caps collected both before and during the knit-in to all newborns during October and November with the hope that parents or caregivers will see the hat and remember the program.

“Sometimes, people’s instinct when faced with an inconsolable child is to pick up the child and be more physical than they should. Instead, we teach them to go through steps to try to stop the crying, including skin-to-skin contact. We encourage parents to give themselves a time-out when they feel frustrated,” said Cudia, adding that parents receive a DVD and a booklet on Shaken Baby Syndrome and how to prevent it from occurring.

Based on nearly 30 years of research, the program helps parents of new babies understand a widely unknown developmental stage by providing education on the normal crying curve and the dangers of shaking a baby.

  • Peak of crying: infant crying peaks at 2 to 3 months of age and usually drops-off by 5 months. According to Cudia, “The peak often coincides with a change in routine – the mother returns to work and a different caregiver steps in, for example.”
  • Unexpected: crying can come and go for no apparent reason
  • Resists soothing: coddling, diaper changing and feeding – actions that usually calm a baby – do not work
  • Painlike face: a crying infant may appear to be in pain, but they’re usually not
  • Longlasting: crying jags can last for between 30 and 45 minutes at a time and occur several times throughout a 24-hour period
  • Evening: infants often cry more in the late afternoon or evening.
    For more information on the Period of PURPLE Crying®program or the Knit-In at Community Medical Center, please contact: Gail Cudia BS, BSN, RN, Maternal Child Educator, Community Medical Center, 732-557-8000 ext. 11501.

About Community Medical Center:
Community Medical Center, a Barnabas Health facility, is a 592-bed, fully accredited acute care hospital offering world-class medical treatment with the comforts of hometown care. Opened in 1961, CMC has evolved into the state’s largest non-teaching hospital and Ocean County’s largest and most active healthcare facility, caring for more than 28,000 inpatients, 127,700 outpatients and 100,000 emergency department patients each year. Community Medical Center offers a comprehensive array of wellness and medical services including world-class cancer, diabetes, emergency and cardiac care, as well as maternal and child health services, obstetric services, a Level 2 special care nursery and a dedicated pediatric unit and maintains award-winning centers of excellence for women, children and seniors.

CONTACT: Jean Flaherty

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