ICON Week – babies cry, you can cope

Somerset County Council has joined the NHS and healthcare organisations from across the county to promote lifesaving messages to parents during ICON week.

The campaign, spanning from 27 September – 1 October 2021, is promoting the message that ‘babies cry, you can cope”. It aims to raise awareness of infant crying and how to cope in a bid to support parents and carers and prevent serious injury, illness and even death of young babies as a result of these incidents.

Councillor Clare Paul, Somerset County Council’s member for health and wellbeing said: “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 and carers, reduce stress and prevent abusive head trauma in babies.

“We are proud to be supporting ICON Week. If you’re struggling to cope with your baby crying, you are not alone, this programme will help you understand that infant crying is normal and that there is lots of support out there to help you cope.”

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

 IInfant crying is normal and it will stop
CComfort methods can sometimes soothe the baby and the crying will stop
OIt’s OK to walk away for a few minutes if you have checked the baby is safe and the crying isgetting to you
NNever ever shake or hurt a baby

Research suggests that some parents and care givers 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. 

Most babies start to cry more frequently from two weeks of age, with a peak usually being seen around 6-8 weeks. Organisations coming together from 27 September – 1 October, aim to spread the messages to help normalise infant crying and share coping techniques to help parents to deal with the stress it can cause.

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.

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

If you think you need help and are struggling to cope, don’t continue to struggle. Help is available from your midwife, health visitor, GP or go online: https://cypsomersethealth.org/?ks=1&page=safety__coping_with_crying