hospitals combine on Pinwheel Project
In the same way the pink ribbon represents breast cancer awareness, Prevent Child Abuse America has adopted the pinwheel as a national symbol for their campaign to prevent child abuse. The Idaho Children’s Trust Fund, which is the Idaho affiliate of PCAA asked groups around the state to plan a special project involving pinwheels and publicity to let parents and others know there are resources in each community to support those who are raising or caring for children.
St Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospitals and the Kamiah Medical Clinic joined forces with the Health Occupations Student Associations at Prairie and Orofino High Schools to plant a pinwheel garden at the entrance to their medical facilities. Because April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, HOSA and the medical facilities planted their pinwheel gardens on April 1. The pinwheels and a sign describing the project will remain during the month.
“One of the biggest steps we can take to prevent child abuse is to raise awareness within communities, large and small. Small actions like sitting with a crying baby can make a big difference in a new parent’s life. Get to know the children on your block. Parents, grandparents, neighbors, elected officials, law enforcement personnel and everyone within our towns and cities should also know what resources are available for parents and child care givers,” said Roger Sherman, Director, Idaho Children’s Trust Fund. “Any where there is a child at risk each of us needs to step forward and help ease the situation.”
Sherman suggests calling the Idaho Careline, 2-1-1, for information about local resources for children and families at risk.
The OB Departments of CVHC and SMHC recently adopted the Period of Purple Crying curriculum in their childbirth education classes. It is a new way to understand a baby’s crying. According to research, most shaken baby events occur due to caregiver frustration with unexplained infant crying. The program is designed to educate parents, caregivers and society at large about the normal, early infant developmental stage called purple crying and how to handle it.
According to Dr. Ronald Barr, a professor of community child health research and a developmental pediatrician at the University of British Columbia, there is a period of normal infant crying beginning at about two weeks of age, peaking between 2-3 months and decreasing around 3-5 months. He said this crying is unexpected, resists soothing, is long lasting and occurs more in the evening. He uses the word, period, to let caregivers know that this experience of increased, frustrating crying is temporary and eventually comes to an end.
“Our OB departments are giving new parents a ten minute Period of Purple Crying DVD and an 11 page booklet that is theirs to keep to show their families and their infant’s caregivers. When we give them the DVD we explain that healthy babies can cry a lot in the first 5 months of life. The DVD is a new way to understand this crying. It explains what is normal, what you can expect when your baby cries, and how to keep your baby safe,” said Barb Michels, SMH OB Coordinator. “I also gave area schools a copy for their health and similar classes to inform student caregivers and future parents about this phase of an infant’s life.”
More information on the program is available through www.PURPLEcrying.info .Another source for information on shaken baby syndrome and its prevention is www.stopsbs.net. For those without internet access both hospitals have information on the period of Purple crying, shaken baby syndrome and tips on how to bond with your baby designed for grandparents, fathers and caregivers.
“Any parent or caregiver who is becoming increasingly frustrated with the child’s behavior should reach out. There are people or agencies to call who are in a position to help. Our hospitals are also one resource and are staffed 24/7. Just ask for someone in the OB department. No one should feel alone and unsupported,” said Cheri Carter, RN, CVHC Childbirth Educator and OHS HOSA advisor.
The PHS Health Occupations Student Association joined with staff from St. Mary’s Hospital to plant a pinwheel garden to raise awareness during April, Child Abuse Prevention Month. Pictured (-r) are Dani Cochran, Ashley Shumway, Jennifer Cochran, Demetria Reiner, Kayla Johnson, Brock Heath, Seth Guyer, Conner Rieman, Brenda Kaschmitter, Arlene Baerlocher, Peggy Goeckner, Nita Chandler and Donna Tanner.