ICON - Babies cry, you can cope

Research suggests that some people can lose control when a baby’s crying becomes too much and can potentially go on to shake a baby with devastating consequences.

  • The peak age for crying is 6-8 weeks of age.
  • The peak age for abusive head trauma to babies is 6-8 weeks.
  • Accumulated stressors caused by the Pandemic / family isolation are predicted to increase the risk / prevalence of this.
  • ICON is an intervention endorsed by RCGP, RCPCH and the National Children’s Major Trauma Network.

ICON’s website contains advice for both parents and professionals.

The program is being rolled out through community services, the TSSP would like to raise awareness of it to all professionals so that it can be highlighted to both parents and prospective parents.

Chart showing curves of early infant crying

The chart above shows that some babies will potentially be crying for a quarter of each day at around 2 months old and the parent / guardian will have to be prepared for this. The message of the ICON program is ‘I can cope’.

Babies cry, you can cope - Icon advice

Of those who go on to shake babies, research shows that around 70% of those who shake babies are men. Professionals should be aware of this and engage prospective fathers as well as mothers. A suggestion from ICON is that parents could take a photo of the poster above with their phone, to always have it to hand.

The NHS also have a page providing advice on soothing crying babies. This page lists the most common reasons for babies crying, suggestions on how to comfort the baby, causes of constant crying and what to do in this situation. 

Non-accidental head injuries (formerly known as shaken baby syndrome) feature in a number of Serious Case Reviews, including the review into the case of Baby X.