ICON Week 2022: Raising awareness of infant crying and how to cope

“Babies cry, you can cope!” – that’s the message from Wakefield Council to help parents and carers understand the normal crying pattern of young infants and promote lifesaving messages.

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. 

ICON is a programme adopted by Wakefield Council to provide information about infant crying, including how to cope, support parents/carers, reduce stress and prevent abusive head trauma in babies.

The second annual ICON week, spanning from 26 September – 30 September 2022, 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         Comfort 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

Cllr Margaret Isherwood

Most babies start to cry more frequently from two weeks of age, with a peak usually being seen around 6-8 weeks. Wakefield Council aims to spread the messages to help normalise infant crying and share coping techniques to help parents to deal with the stress it can cause.

Cllr Margaret Isherwood, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “It is really important to recognise it is normal for babies to cry and we want to ensure that parents, carers and family members are aware of this, have coping strategies and know that help is available if they are struggling.

“It is important that everyone understands how to avoid causing harm and that all babies need loving and gentle care to thrive and grow.”

For more information, visit www.iconcope.org/iconweek2022.

Wakefield Council is also using the week to raise awareness of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and offer safer sleep advice that reduces the risk of it occurring.

More information can be found at https://www.wakefield.gov.uk/schools-and-children/safeguarding/every-sleep-a-safe-sleep-advice-for-parents-and-carers