Being a parent can be tough and research suggests that some parents and caregivers can lose control when a baby’s crying becomes too much. Sadly 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.
ICON is a programme adopted by health and social care organisations in the UK to provide information about infant crying, including how to cope, support parents/carers, reduce stress and prevent abusive head trauma in babies.
The second annual ICON week (26 September – 30 September 2022) 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 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 Comfort 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 six to eight weeks. ICON week aims to help normalise infant crying and share coping techniques that will help parents to deal with the stress it can cause.
Mandy Philbin, chief nurse, Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership said:
“Becoming a parent is amazing but it can be hard too. A crying baby is extremely stressful – especially if you’re sleep deprived and they don’t seem to stop. But it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad parent or that you’re doing anything wrong.”
“ICON is about sharing advice with parents and carers who might be struggling and giving tips on what to do and how to stay calm when things get tough.”
“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 to the ICON website www.iconcope.org. Many parents will be able to reach out to friends and family for support too. They may not realise you’re finding things difficult unless you ask for help.”
This year’s ICON week focuses on sharing ideas and best practice. Webinars are taking place throughout the week with speakers from the military, police, primary care, parent ambassadors, health visitors, and the education section. These are open to everyone, and the access details are available at www.iconcope.org/iconweek2022.