New ICON training will save babies lives

Somerset Public Health has joined other organisations from across the county to promote lifesaving training which will save babies lives.

‘Babies cry, you can cope’ is a key message being delivered in new ‘ICON’ training which helps families create a nurturing environment and learn supporting comfort methods which can help soothe crying babies.

Working with the NHS, healthcare organisations, social care, early years and community and voluntary partners, Somerset County Council’s Public Health team have launched a prevention programme which includes specialised training for practitioners as well as wider family and community support.

The new training is part of the National ICON programme, which aims to raise awareness of coping with crying and strategies to support parents and carers to prevent serious injury, illness and even death of young babies as a result of shaking incidents.

Professor Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health for Somerset, commented: “The national ICON programme provides information about the realities of infant crying, so parents can be better prepared and supported to cope with the way their baby cries to communicate.

“Most babies start to cry more frequently from two weeks of age, with a peak usually being seen around 6-8 weeks. The ICON training programme informs health professionals and what can be done in these situations and how they can support parents and carers to stay calm. It provides an of array information and techniques that they can pass on to parents or carers to help them cope.

“It supports parents and carers to respond to crying in a nurturing way that prevents incidence of serious head injury in babies, caused by shaking. 

“We are proud to be launching this essential training programme as well as a set of resources to support practitioners and parents or carers. The key message is ‘Babies do cry, it’s perfectly normal and you can cope’.

“We want to share information far and wide about what to think about if you or your partner is pregnant or you have recently become a parent.”

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 is getting to you
NNever ever shake or hurt a baby

Research shows that some parents and care givers have been known to lose control when they can no longer cope with their baby’s crying. Some go on to shake a baby, which can have devastating consequences. 

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

Further information is available here:

Kate Beaumont, a Somerset Foundation Trust health midwife, said: “In Somerset our maternity services work with families throughout pregnancy to help them to develop nurturing relationships with their babies.

“We know how challenging having a new baby can be so we have worked with our partners at Somerset County Council to develop a package of training that offers a whole system approach to building relationships, sharing the safe sleep message and helping parents and carers find ways to cope with normal new-born crying.”

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: