Campaign launched to help prevent abusive head trauma in babies

A new campaign is to be launched to help prevent abusive head trauma in Sussex.

ICON's aim to help parents and carers understand why babies cry and provide advice on how to cope.

Research suggests that some parents/care givers may lose control when a baby’s crying becomes too much, and this momentary lack of control may result in a baby being shaken with devastating consequences.

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Shaken baby, now referred to as Abusive Head Trauma (AHT), can cause catastrophic brain and physical injuries, which may lead to significant long-term health needs, learning disabilities or even death.

Image by Ben Kerckx from Pixabay

Allison Cannon, chief nurse officer for Sussex NHS commissioners said: “We are launching this important campaign in collaboration with local partners to help parents and carers to cope with a crying baby.

“AHT is not restricted to specific socio-economic groups – it can occur in any environment, when a parent or carer is on the edge due to infant crying. The impact of the pandemic and the different lock downs imposed can be far reaching for all families. It is usually a momentary loss of control from a tired and stressed adult”.

“This is why the ICON campaign is so important in offering advice and guidance, which has proved successful.”

The Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and their local partners are launching the campaign so practitioners in the county can learn how they can use the ICON programme to support families to cope with a crying baby, and to share the programme’s techniques and the simple message making up the ICON acronym:

I - Infant crying is normal and it will stop

C - Comfort methods can sometimes soothe the baby and the crying will stop

O - It’s OK to walk away if you have checked the baby is safe and the crying is getting to you

N - Never ever shake or hurt a baby

The campaign launch comes during a global pandemic with measures taken to contain and delay the spread of COVID-19 presenting major stressors for families.

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