Health professionals look to prevent shaken baby incidents

Mon 19th April 2021


'Babies cry, you can cope' is the message to parents and carers as a new campaign launches to help prevent babies from being shaken – which can have devastating consequences.

Health professionals in Sunderland are reminding new parents and carers that it’s normal for babies to frequently cry and that they can stay calm if they follow some simple advice.

NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is working with local partners to promote a programme called ICON, which has been developed as an intervention to help reduce the number of babies suffering from Abusive Head Trauma (AHT). Research found that some parents and carers lose control when a baby’s crying becomes too much and go on to shake the baby. This can cause life changing injuries and sometimes death.

ICON is set within a series of key messages; I is for Infant crying is normal; C is Comforting methods can help; O is for it’s Ok to walk away; and N is for Never, ever shake a baby.

Maria Farrow-Tait, Safeguarding Nurse for NHS Sunderland CCG, said:

“For many parents the first few weeks of parenthood can be a difficult time. Having a crying baby can be worrying and hard to cope with, especially when sleep is in short supply.

“Most people who have ever cared for a baby appreciate some advice about how to comfort a crying baby and how to cope when it goes on for a long time.

“Whatever your reaction to baby crying – don’t ever shake your baby. If you think you are struggling to cope, ICON is there for you to give you coping advice.

“We’re also working with GPs, midwives and health visitors in Sunderland so they can help support new parents by providing information and advice on how to cope with crying babies.”

Public Health England have worked with ICON – – to develop a series of information resources and advice for parents. If you are feeling overwhelmed – visit the ICON website for more information about comforting techniques for your baby and methods you can use to stay calm.

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