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ICON - What is ICON?

ICON is a programme of intervention to prevent Abusive Infant Head Trauma. Research suggests that some parents/caregivers lose control when a baby’s crying becomes too much. The Babies Cry, You Can Cope (ICON) programme provides a simple, consistent message to support parents/caregivers to cope with a crying baby.

The ICON Acronym +

Infant crying is normal and it will stop

Comfort methods will sometimes soothe the baby and the crying will stop

OK to walk away if you have checked the baby is safe and the crying is getting to you

Never shake or hurt a baby

What is the ICON Intervention? +

The icon intervention is delivered at each key touch point with the parents /carers by key professionals using the ICON leaflet as a guide for discussion, which includes a picture of the infant crying curve.

Curves of infant crying chart 2 weeks to 4-5 months

Intervention Points +

The full ICON programme consists of 7 potential intervention points.

  • High School: description. Link to lesson plan and lesson
  • Hospital Based: description. Link to leaflet and script and commitment statement
  • Community Midwife home visit: reiteration of 4 point message
  • Health Visitor Primary visit: reiteration of 4 point message
  • Health visitor topic specific contact: dedicated contact discussing normal crying and exploring how parents/caregivers are coping.
  • GP 6/8 week check: link to questionnaire
  • Any professional involved with babies to provide opportunistic support/advice

The main key discussion prior to discharge when the father is also present should take 5 or 6 minutes. Other touch points give the opportunity to revisit general advice, identify any concerns and provide ongoing support.

  • Intervention focuses on the four key ICON messages and informing parents/ carers that it is ok to ask for help and support.
  • Information regarding ICON and the Coping with crying plan are now included in the PCHR (Parents Red Book).

How can I support Parents I am working with? +

  • Remind parents / carers of the dangers of violently shaking a baby
  • Discuss triggers and strategies for coping with crying
  • Share posters, leaflets resources in your setting Resources | ICON (iconcope.org)
  • Include fathers in your discussions

Key touch points were identified to try to capture fathers as often they are excluded when key information is discussed. ICON is inclusive of both fathers and mothers in providing them with the information, advice, and support at a time when many new parents feel overwhelmed. 

There is father specific information provided by ICON in video form.

DadPad logoICON also supports the providers of the DADPAD APP which is male specific and includes information and advice for fathers on ICON and coping with crying and self-care. https://thedadpad.co.uk/

Parents are encouraged to discuss and share ICON information with other key carers for their baby.

Resources for Practitioners +