Raising awareness of infant crying and how to cope

Published: 21 September 2023

“Babies cry, you can cope!” is the message from NHS, local authorities, and healthcare organisations across the country who have come together this September to promote lifesaving messages to parents.

Research shows 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. 

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 third annual ICON week, spanning from 25 September – 29 September 2023, 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 as 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        Comport 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

Speak to someone if you need support such as your family, friends, midwife, GP or health visitor.

More information and a wealth of resources are available on the ICON Cope website.

Local support can be found below:

Hertfordshire: Families directory on Hertfordshire County Council website

Essex: Children, young people and families pages on Essex County Council website