About ICON

The idea for the ICON programme and the different interventions within it was conceived by Dr Suzanne Smith PhD following a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travel Fellowship to USA and Canada in 2016 which included the study of effective interventions and research into the prevention of Abusive Head Trauma (AHT).  Research suggests that some lose control when a baby’s crying becomes too much.  Some go on to shake a baby with devastating consequences.  Suzanne found that the most effective evidence based programmes studied provide a simple message that supports parents/care givers to cope with infant crying.  Apart from preventing AHT, 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.

What ICON Stands For

The core of the campaign both locally and nationally is based around coping with a crying baby. The Hampshire group developed an acronym ‘ICON’ which supports the core message and which has been fully endorsed by the national group.

ICON represents:


* I – Infant crying is normal

* C –Comforting methods can help

* O – It’s OK to walk away

* N – Never, ever shake a baby


Speak to someone if you need support such as your family, friends, Midwife, GP or Health Visitor.


Mrs Kim Jones, Designated Nurse for Safeguarding Children in Hampshire has worked closely with Suzanne, parents/families, midwifery, health visiting and medical colleagues in coming up with the ICON acronym and developing the growing range of materials and educational resources.

Parents and families who have been affected  by AHT have been pivotal in the direction and design of the programme and materials. Supported by Charlees Angels Foundation ,  parents and relatives such as Jessi Stephenson, Mae Brigden, Joanne Peacock and Anuaska Mercer who have worked tirelessly to raise awareness about AHT.

ICON is co-ordinated and supported by a national steering group based in Hampshire and regional steering groups in the pilot areas.


Infant crying is normal and it will stop!

Babies start to cry more frequently from around 2 weeks of age.

The crying may get more frequent and last longer.

After about 8 weeks of age babies start to cry less each week


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

Think about are they:

  • hungry

  • tired

  • in need of a nappy change

  • Try simple calming techniques such as singing to the baby or going for a walk.


It’s Ok 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 or death.

If you are worried that your baby is unwell contact your GP or call NHS 111.

Speak to someone if you need support such as your family, friends, Midwife, GP or Health Visitor.

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