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ICON – Babies cry, you can cope

ICON: Babies cry, you can cope is a programme that is spreading throughout England designed to support parents and carers cope with a crying baby.  This is as part of an approach to prevent Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) in babies who we know are sometimes shaken as people caring for them are unable to cope with the sound of a baby crying.  The incidence of AHT is not falling and we know that helping parents cope with crying will be a preventative measure.  There is a need to ensure men get the ICON message as we also know that most babies who are shaken, are shaken by men. 

The ICON message is simple and is a mnemonic that stands for:

Infant crying is normal and will stop

Comfort methods will sometimes help and the crying will stop

Its OK to walk away for a few minutes when the baby is safe and the crying is getting to you

Never ever shake or hurt a baby

The first phase of the ICON programme includes primary preventative touchpoints within the first six to eight weeks of a baby’s life when all babies start to cry more.  Now that this phase of the programme is becoming more embedded within the country, we are now keen to push forward with the next phase of the programme which includes reaching out to young people in high school to ensure they get the message so they too can cope with a baby’s crying when they are caring for siblings, babysitting or looking after their own children.  This has always been a recommendation for the programme development and now is the time for us to start exploring it at pace.  

Coping with a crying baby is harder at times of stress and hardship.  Coronavirus has certainly introduced that to many parents and carers which makes the sharing of the ICON message at this time even more important.  ICON includes an active social media campaign on FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  SAPHNA members will start to see more of these posts appear with a SAPHNA tag.

The ICON National Steering Group is looking forward to working in collaboration with SAPHNA in driving forward this important work to support parents and protect babies.

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