Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Prevention: North Carolina

The McDowell News has a great story on efforts to increase awareness in North Carolina. Link

The Carolina Hurricanes recognized the work of Carrie Price, a nurse at Rutherford Hospital, to educate new parents. And even better, the Hurricane's team captain, Eric Staal and his infant son appeared in a PSA to increase awareness. Link

By Britt Combs The McDowell News
Published: February 9, 2010

What with the recent snowy weather, many in McDowell have seen more than ever of the inside of their homes.

But not Carrie Price.

When nearly a foot of snow blasted North Carolina, she and her husband, Patrick, drove to Raleigh to take in a Carolina Hurricanes hockey game.

The team invited Price, a registered nurse from Rutherford Hospital's Birth Place, to take part in an event designed to prevent child abuse and raise awareness of some of the frustrations faced by parents of young babies.

"We had to drive there in the falling snow," she said. "What's normally a 3 hour trip took seven hours. We had a great time and it was very exciting to see the Hurricanes play."

Adding to the fun was the excitement of seeing the Hurricanes defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. The trip was a blast and the Prices were glad to have an excuse to spend the night and make a
romantic weekend of it.

She said she would have made the trip without the hockey game if it helped prepare parents for that difficult stage of their new babies' lives. She has seen more than enough to make her aware just how confused and powerless parents can feel when their babies are inconsolable.

"They used to call it 'colic,'" said Price, but, she explained, that gives the impression the tendency of some babies to cry for extended periods is a disease. In fact, she said, many babies go through a stage of crying for no discernable reason.

"That's why we call it 'The Period of Purple Crying'; because it's just a normal stage."

Price works to prepare new parents for this frustrating process. Hopefully, with information and tools ready, the parents will be better prepared to deal with the situation that has been cited as a aggravating factor in "shaken baby syndrome."

The mission to spread that awareness has become a favorite cause of Hurricanes Captain Eric Staal. He, his wife, Tanya and their infant son, Parker filmed a PSA to encourage parents to be cool when the screaming starts.

"We all know it's normal for babies to cry, but it can be really frustrating when they cry for hours and nothing we can do makes the crying stop," Staal explained in the message.

"The most important thing is what we do with that frustration. You just have to stay cool and know that this normal crying period will end."

Price, a mother of three, has been working in the maternity department at Rutherford since 2003. She said the Purple Crying campaign has enabled her to get a lot of information across to new parents very quickly -- at a time when they are exhausted and want to go home. And that, she said, has been key to having a lasting impact.

"None of my babies went through that stage," she said, "and not all babies do. But it is very normal." She said babies can cry for hours on end and the parents feel completely powerless to
comfort their babies.

In the noise and chaos, combined with the frustration and helplessness, she said, a parent may be tempted to shake the baby -- a hasty decision that can leave the child with devastating, disabling injuries, and the parent with a lifetime of regret.

The best coping mechanism, she said, is to "simply put the child down in a safe place and get away until you can calm down." The injuries the child can sustain, often called shaken baby syndrome,
include blindness, seizures, learning disabilities and death.

Lyn Jackson, of the group Keeping Babies Safe in North Carolina, said the Hurricanes' involvement has been very effective in changing what is considered "normal behavior" in infants.

She said the Price and the Purple Crying campaign have been successful in reducing child abuse because they take a positive approach, helping parents feel more capable, better prepared and better about their babies.

No comments: