Period of PURPLE Crying

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been rated by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

Currently in Summary View
View Detailed Report

About This Program

Target Population: All mothers and fathers of infants up to 5 months of age and society in general in their understanding of early increased infant crying and shaken baby syndrome

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 0

Brief Description

The Period of PURPLE Crying program is the name given to the Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) prevention program developed by National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome. The program educates parents and caretakers on normal infant crying, the most common trigger for shaking an infant. It was designed to be used primarily in universal, primary prevention settings, but is applicable to secondary prevention as well.

The letters in PURPLE stand for the common properties of crying, including unsoothable crying, in infants during the first few months:

  • Peak pattern (crying peaks around 2 months, then decreases)
  • Unpredictable (crying for long periods can come and go for no reason)
  • Resistant to soothing (the baby may keep crying for long periods)
  • Pain-like look on face
  • Long bouts of crying (crying can go on for hours)
  • Evening crying (baby cries more in the afternoon and evening)

The other important word in the name is “period,” letting parents and caregivers know there is a beginning and ending to the infant crying phase. The program includes a full color 10-page booklet, parent reminder card, a 10-minute PURPLE Crying video and a 17-minute Crying, Soothing, Coping: Doing What Comes Naturally video intended to be given to parents of new infants. The program materials are available in two formats: DVD with booklet package or web and mobile application with booklet package. The program also contains a public media component aimed at changing cultural attitudes about crying, especially inconsolable crying.

Program Goals:

The overall goals of the Period of PURPLE Crying program are:

  • Support caregivers in their understanding of early increased infant crying
  • Reduce the incidence of shaken baby syndrome/abusive head trauma

Contact Information

Ryan Steinbeigle
Title: Executive Director
Agency/Affiliation: National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome
Phone: (801) 447-9360 x115
Fax: (801) 447-9364

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: August 2016

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: May 2018

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: February 2008