ICON / Safer Sleep

Please see here for the ICON: Babies Cry, You Can Cope! Programme Launch by Sarah Booth, Designated Nurse Safeguarding Children and Children in Care at Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group







ICON – Babies Cry, You Can Cope programme supports parents and carers manage normal infant crying and to prevent abusive head trauma injuries to babies caused by shaking, also referred to as ‘shaken baby syndrome’.

ICON is an evidenced-based programme designed to help parents and carers understand the normal crying pattern of young infants and to help them develop successful coping mechanisms to deal with this.

The ICON programme delivers four simple messages before the birth and in the first few months of a baby’s life:

I – Infant crying is normal;

C –Comforting methods can help;

O – It’s OK to walk away;

N – Never, ever shake a baby.

These ICON messages have been demonstrated to help parents and carers manage the stresses which can be caused by normal infant crying. Midwives, Health Visitors and other professionals across the region have developed ICON expertise to help give parents and carers the tools they need to help keep their babies safe.


Coping with a crying baby can be very stressful for parents. Serious Case Reviews show that crying is the main trigger for babies being shaken. Research has shown that public health campaigns educating new parents and caregivers in coping with their baby’s crying can reduce rates of abusive head trauma by up to 75%.  During COVID-19, stress levels at home are likely to be increased further.

Research shows that around 70% of babies who are shaken are shaken by men.  So any prevention programme should include male caregivers and use the best opportunities to reach them as well as support all parents/caregivers with information about crying and how to cope with a crying baby.

The six week postnatal check is the ideal time to enquire with parents and carers about their babies crying, as infant crying hits a peak at 6-8 weeks of age. The ICON webpage offers advice and support to both parents and carers and professionals. This includes leaflets, posters, coping with crying plans and information about the research behind the programme and can be accessed via this link: www.iconcope.org

Within the Wakefield District, a partnership wide initiative will be launched across midwifery, health visiting, general practice and other partners included in the Wakefield Safeguarding Children Partnership, with a go live date planned for the first week in December 2020.

Resources for professionals

Guidance for clinical staff

This poster from the Hampshire CCGs provides advice that health professionals can give parents to help them cope with their baby crying and also a suggested template for the 6-week postnatal check.

ICON is has been approved for endorsement from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGPs).

The ICON information has been included within the RCGPs Toolkit: link

Royal College of General Practice Covid-19 Response: link

Infant crying – advice for new parents

Infant crying is normal and it will stop! Babies start to cry more frequently from around 2 weeks of age.

Comfort methods can sometimes soothe the baby and the crying will stop. Is the baby hungry, tired or in need of a nappy change?

It’s okay to walk away if you have checked the baby is safe and the crying is getting to you. After a few minutes when you are feeling calm, go back and check on the baby.

Never, ever shake or hurt a baby. It can cause lasting brain damage and death.

Some advice can be found in these short films.

The following resources are available by clicking the links below and also on the ICON website http://iconcope.org/for-professionals/

Posters – printable

Advice for parents link

Advice for parents link

Are you struggling with your baby crying?  link

Leaflets – printable

Infant crying and how to cope link

Leaflet tailored for babies born prematurely link

Safer Sleep for Infants Practice Standard link

The 5 key messages the reader should note about this document are:
1. Parents/carers will receive consistent message about safe sleeping at all contacts.
2. Parents will be aware of the risk factors associated with co-sleeping.
3. Parents will be supported to have a plan in place to ensure safe sleeping practices when risks are identified, or when baby will be sleeping away from home.
4. The professional record will evidence a safe sleep assessment has been undertaken and will include information given to parents on safe sleep, identified associated risk
factors and will demonstrate analysis and action plan.
5. Any known incidences of unsafe co-sleeping or bed sharing (recent or historical) should be shared with all professionals who are working with the children and
discussed during any information sharing activities for infants. This includes Child Protection, Child in Need, Early Help/Team around the Child meetings and handover
of care between professionals.

Related helpful resources…

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