Fort Worth hospital: Crying babies shouldn't trigger child abuse

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by TODD UNGER

Bio | Email | Follow: @toddWFAA8

WFAA

Posted on August 6, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 6 at 10:37 PM

FORT WORTH — Cook Children's Medical Center is hoping an enhanced program will help reduce the number of child abuse cases that are coming through its doors.

Called the Period of Purple Crying, the program aims to let parents understand the dangers of becoming overly frustrated when infants cry.

"Crying is the number-one trigger for child abuse," said Dr. Jamye Coffman, head of the hospital's CARE response team, which deals with abuse cases.

The new training for parents includes an instructional video; reading materiels; and one-on-one time with a specialist. It is required for every parent who has a child under five months of age.

"I think it's a great idea," said Amanda Ellison, who just had twin boys. "It's not as if they're crying for hours; it may just be for minutes, but you can still think, 'What am I doing wrong?'"

According to the state, Tarrant County has some of the highest child abuse figures in the state.

There were more than 5,500 confirmed cases in 2012.

At Cook, there were 26 patients who died because of abuse in the past three years.

"We're hoping this program really helps raise awareness," Coffman said.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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