Home Children and Young People ICON Week 2023: Raising awareness of infant crying and how to cope
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ICON Week 2023: Raising awareness of infant crying and how to cope

by Guy Murphy

“Babies cry, you can cope!” is the message from NHS, local authorities, and healthcare organisations across the country who have come together this September to promote lifesaving messages to parents.

Research shows that some parents and caregivers can lose control when a baby’s crying becomes too much. Some go on to shake a baby with devastating consequences.

Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) causes catastrophic brain injuries, which can lead to death, or significant long-term health and learning disabilities.

The third annual ICON week will take place from 25-29 September 2023 and aims to raise awareness of infant crying and how to cope in a bid to support parents / carers and prevent serious injury, illness and even death of young babies as a result of these incidents.

The evidence-based programme consists of a series of brief interventions that reinforce the simple message making up the ICON acronym:

I           Infant crying is normal and it will stop

C         Comforting methods can sometimes soothe the baby and the crying will stop

O         It’s OK to walk away for a few minutes if you have checked the baby is safe and the crying is getting to you

N         Never ever shake or hurt a baby

Most babies start to cry more frequently from two weeks of age, with a peak usually being seen around 6-8 weeks. Throughout ICON awareness week, organisations come together to help to normalise infant crying and share coping techniques to help parents to deal with the stress it can cause.

Nurse, health visitor and founder of ICON, Dr Suzanne Smith, said: “Abusive head trauma can occur in any environment when a parent or carer is on the edge due to infant crying.

“The pressure that families are under is only being exacerbated by added pressures of the cost-of-living increase and the impact can be far-reaching and have devastating consequences.

“ICON is about sharing messages of support and advice to parents and carers who might be struggling to cope. We want to normalise the fact that babies do cry and some aren’t easily soothed and we want to share information far and wide about what to do in these situations and how to stay calm.

“By sharing these vitally important messages and coping techniques to carers, we are working towards reducing the risk of harm to babies and protecting them from AHT which is utterly preventable.

“Anyone who needs help and is struggling to cope, don’t continue to struggle. Help is available from your midwife, health visitor, GP or go online and there are more resources on our ICON website.”

Cllr Christine Bannon, Cabinet Member for Health, added “It’s important to know that you are not alone and help and support is available. Many people are in your situation, but it’s important to know that there is a range of techniques and support to help you. Speak to your family, friends, your midwife, nurser or GP. You can cope and remember it is normal for your baby to cry.”

For more information visit www.iconcope.org/iconweek2023 or call Donna Wilson,

Service Lead – Knowsley 0-25 Health and Wellbeing Service on 0772 1339436 or email  Donna.wilson36@nhs.net