Education About Crying in Normal Infants Is Associated with a Reduction in Pediatric Emergency Room Visits for Crying Complaints
The primary aim of this study was to determine whether there was any change in visits of 0- to 5-month old infants to the medical emergency room (MER) of a metropolitan pediatric hospital after province-wide implementation of a public health prevention program that teaches new parents about the properties of early crying in normal infants. Free-text descriptions of Presenting Complaint and Final Diagnosis on electronic MER clinic visit files were used to classify infants as cases of infant crying not due to disease. Annual crying case visits as a percent of MER visits were analyzed pre- and post-introduction of the prevention program.
Before the program, crying case visits represented 724 of 20,394 MER visits (3.5%). The age-specific pattern of MER visits for crying peaked at 6 weeks and was similar to the previously reported age-specific pattern of amounts of crying in the community. After program implementation, crying cases were reduced by 29.5% (p < .001). The most significant reductions were for crying visits in the first to third months of life. The findings imply that improved parental knowledge of the characteristics of normal crying secondary to a public health program may reduce MER use for crying complaints in the early months of life.