ICON support for parents with crying babies

A new programme that aims to to reduce cases of abusive head trauma in infants is being launched in Northumberland.

Saturday, 11th September 2021, 11:00 am
The national ICON programme is being launched in Northumberland. Picture by Gavin Duthie.

Parenthood brings all kinds of challenges, with emotions running high from both child and their parents or carers. However, in each region in the country there will have been occasions when people lose control with crying babies and go on to shake an infant, with devastating consequences.

The safeguarding team at NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which wants to make sure everyone is equipped with the tools needed to cope with a crying baby, is leading the ICON roll-out in the county.

The national programme highlights the following – I (Infant crying is normal); C (Comforting methods can help); O (It’s OK to walk away); N (Never, ever shake a baby).

The ICON training is being delivered to GP practices, staff working in the wider community, midwives and health visiting and infant feeding teams working in the 0-19 service through Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s safeguarding midwife and public health lead.

Parents and carers can benefit from support and advice from the initiative’s resources at key touch points such as the antenatal period, at birth in hospital, follow-up by the midwife, primary visit and follow-up contacts by health visiting and infant feeding teams, through to the six-week postnatal check with the GP.

Margaret Tench, designated nurse for safeguarding children at the CCG said: ““Whilst welcoming a new baby into the home can be a joyous time, it can also be an incredibly stressful time.

“We are working hard in Northumberland to reach parents, including male care-givers, to spread the key message that ‘babies cry, you can cope’.

“It’s important that families are given the skills to manage emotive and challenging times when a baby won’t stop crying, as this is when babies are at increased risk of being shaken.

“Shaking a baby can be incredibly dangerous and can cause them permanent damage – and even death in some cases. This it’s why it’s incredibly important that we support all parents and carers who are looking after new-born babies to help them stay in control.”

The programme has been approved for endorsement from the Royal College of General Practitioners.