We're supporting ICON Week to raise awareness of infant crying and how to cope

We’re coming together with the NHS, healthcare organisations and other local councils to share lifesaving messages for parents during ICON Week (26-30 September).

The second annual ICON Week aims to raise awareness of how newborn babies crying is normal and how parents and carers can cope. It is hoped these messages will help prevent serious injury and illness to infants.

Research suggests 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.

Across Barnsley and South Yorkshire, we adopted the ICON programme in January 2021 to help parents and carers cope with a crying baby.

ICON is an evidence-based programme consisting of a series of brief interventions that reinforce the simple messages making up the ICON acronym:

  • I – Infant crying is normal, and it will stop.
  • C – Comforting methods can help.
  • O – It’s okay to walk away for a few minutes if you’ve checked the baby is safe.
  • N – Never shake 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, then they will gradually cry less and less.

Organisations coming together for ICON Week aim to spread messages that help normalise infant crying and share coping techniques to help people deal with the stress it can cause.

Councillor Caroline Makinson, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health and Communities, said: “We’re proud to be supporting the second annual ICON Week in Barnsley, which we hope helps parents and carers understand that infant crying is normal and that there is lots of support available to help them cope.

“If you’re struggling to cope with your baby crying, you’re not alone. Speak to your midwife, GP or health visitor, who will be able to offer non-judgmental support and advice.”

Dr Suzanne Smith, the founder of ICON, said: “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 cry, and some aren’t easily soothed.

“By sharing vital messages about what to do in these situations and coping techniques for parents and carers, we’re working towards reducing the risk of harm to babies and protecting them from Abusive Head Trauma, which is utterly preventable.”

There are lots of resources available on the ICON website, including top tips for staying calm. For more information on ICON Week 2022, visit their website.

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