Health and care teams across Kent and Medway are working together to support parents and carers to cope with their baby’s crying to help prevent traumatic head injuries.
Today (Tuesday 2 November) sees the local launch of the national ICON programme, which aims to raise awareness with parents of how to safely look after crying infants.
ICON advises parents and carers that:
- infant crying is normal
- comfort methods may help soothe your baby
- It’s ok to walk away briefly, if you have checked the baby is safe
- you should never, ever shake or hurt a baby.
NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Chief Nurse Paula Wilkins said: “Many parents struggle with their baby crying and can feel they are alone, but it is important to ask for help.
“You must never shake a baby. Shaking a baby can cause lasting brain damage or death. The ICON approach aims to teach techniques to soothe a baby.
"It reassures parents and carers that as long they have checked the baby is safe, if the crying is getting to them, it is ok to walk away and return a few moments later when they are calmer.”
Studies show a key trigger to a baby being shaken is a caregiver’s inability to stop an infant crying.
ICON supports parents in coping with their own emotions and stress, helps with planning ahead, developing a coping with crying plan with parents.
The CCG, health trusts, which provide midwifery and health visiting services, Kent County Council (KCC), Medway Council and safeguarding partnerships have joined together to roll out the ICON programme locally.
All agencies are working together so we can get this help and support distributed widely across Kent and Medway and into the hands of parents and carers.
Health visitors, midwives and safeguarding teams will be directly sharing ICON resources with parents and carers, in addition to information being distributed via social media.