I rose in the house today to speak about a very serious issue. One that our department is committed to help resolving.
Prince Edward Island has the highest rate of referrals in the Atlantic Provinces for abusive head trauma in infants caused by shaking
Abusive head trauma results from violent shaking of a child and is the most common cause of death from physical abuse among children.
This injury is considered preventable because often the care giver is not aware of the damage that can be caused by shaking. Crying is the most common stimulus for shaking.
The Chief Public Health Office, Health PEI and the Department of Community Services and Seniors have partnered together to implement a preventative program designed to educate new care givers about the normal patterns of infant crying, to anticipate this behaviour and to safely respond to a crying infant.
The program, entitled the Period of Purple Crying, includes an information booklet and 10 minuted DVD which is watched by both parents during their stay at the maternity ward. Nurses will then discuss the program and answer any questions that may arise.
Health PEI’s Public Health Nursing will also review the program with new parents at their home visit and provide another opportunity to discuss and respond to questions.
The Department of Health and Wellness will be funding the initiative through the Reproductive Care Program.
The aim of the Reproductive Care Program is to optimize health of all newborns and mothers by supporting and using education and providing programs that are evidence-based.
Infants cannot help themselves so we have to help ensure their safety.
Public education will provide information to everyone which will aid in bringing about a cultural change in our understanding of the normality of early increased crying. The program is scheduled to begin this fall.