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OP-141 Assessing healthcare workers perceptions of normal infant crying: are we giving parents the right information to help prevent abusive head trauma?
  1. Freya Guinness,
  2. O’Neill Ciara,
  3. Michelle Walsh,
  4. Farhana Sharif
  1. Midlands Regional Hospital Mullingar


Aim It is widely accepted that one of the main precipitants of abusive head trauma (AHT) is frequent and consistent periods of crying by the infant leading to frustration, anger and hopelessness in the parent, resulting in AHT. (1). As a result numerous parental education programs have been implemented worldwide to educate parents on normal infant crying behaviours. Prior to introducing an education program in Ireland we wanted to assess healthcare workers (HCW) current understanding of normal infant crying.

Material and Method We created a 10 question survey, both in hardcopy and on ‘survey monkey’. The survey was distributed via an online link as well as physical copies being collected.

Results We received 122 survey responses from doctors (47%), nurses (43%), midwives (10%). Most concerningly only 21% (n=25) of respondents knew it was within normal limits for a baby to cry > 5 hours per day. 43% (n=52) knew infants tended to cry more each week from 14 days of life and 53% (n=62) knew babies tended to cry most in the second month of life. 63% (n=77) knew that babies tended to cry most in the afternoon/evening. 40% (n=49) of respondents felt that walking away and leaving a baby for a limited time in a safe space was NOT a valid method of soothing a crying child.

Conclusions Education programs on normal infant crying such as ‘the period of PURPLE crying’ and ‘ICON’ have been proven to reduce the incidence of AHT.(2,3,4) It is clear from our survey that there is a knowledge gap in HCW perceptions of normal infant crying which needs to be addressed. Over medicalisation of normal infant crying leads to increased parental stress, increased A&E attendances and unnecessary interventions.

  • Crying infant
  • Abusive head trauma

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