For Professionals

COVID19 Update


The ability to cope with stress depends on the controllability of the stressor. The measures to contain and delay the spread of COVID19 are already presenting major stressors for families which they cannot control e.g.

  • Loss of income
  • Self isolation with children and potentially at risk adults
  • Social distancing restrictions on activities which might lessen stress (e.g. sports, social engagement and entertainment, celebrations)
  • Social distancing restrictions on activities which might enhance support and coping (e.g support groups, children/baby groups and classes, baby clinics).

Please share the ICON coping techniques to families across your networks.

ICON is here to help prevent abusive head trauma. This page is for professionals looking for support.

ICON is an evidence based programme consisting of a series of brief ‘touchpoint’ interventions that reinforr4mce the simple message making up the ICON acronym.

ICON was conceived following years of study and research into prevention of Abusive Head Trauma (AHT). The ICON founder, Dr Suzanne Smith PhD, consolidated the study and research with a visit to USA and Canada in 2016 (courtesy of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travel Fellowship) to see the prevention programmes in action and to understand more about what makes such programmes a success. Download the executive summary HERE.

Research points to persistent crying in babies being a potential trigger for some parents/care givers to lose control and shake a baby.  It also shows that around 70% of babies who are shake 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.


Intervention Points

The full ICON programme consists of 7 potential intervention points.

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

A wider public health awareness campaign using the materials provided will support these interventions.

Although some areas may not  choose not to adopt all elements of the programme, the hospital based intervention has been shown in previous studies to be crucial in engaging with male caregivers.  A simple ‘script’ which takes 5-8 minutes to deliver is available to help professionals or volunteers get the ‘coping with crying’ conversation started.  This should incorporate the safe sleep message detailed in the ICON leaflet.

The programme is currently being piloted in 5 areas of the country and is being evaluated  by follow up survey of parents.

ICON is now being used extensively throughout the country.  If you want to adopt ICON in your area please email: [email protected] and a representative will contact you to help get you started!

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

The ICON information has been included within the RCGPs Toolkit:

RCGP Covid-19 Response:

Ellis's Story

Some may find this video distressing. Viewer discretion is advised.


ICON Poster

Simple ICON poster with a white background. Explaining the ICON message.

ICON Leaflet

An informational leaflet on Baby Crying and the ICON message

ICON Fridge Magnet

A simple design for a fridge magnet

ICON Poster 2

A digital poster with black background. Ideal for sharing the ICON message online.


NHS Hampshire

The Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board are pleased to announce the launch of ICON which is a multi agency response to Abusive Head Trauma in infants.

Gloucestershire Group

The Icon working group in Gloucestershire is made up of a range of services and organisations from the public and private sector. Funding was supplied for the digital marketing of ICON by the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board