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ICON & Abusive Head Trauma


COVID-19 Practice Update

Sadly the stresses of Covid-19 mean that the risk of babies being shaken or abusive head trauma (AHT) is increased.

The GSCE would like to raise the importance of getting the ICON message out to all those who work with families with babies and particular fathers/males as the current situation severely increase the risk of babies being shaken.

  1. Abusive Head Trauma is often triggered by caregiver’s lack of ability to cope with a crying baby
  2. Risk is increased at times of stress within families
  3. There is an association between economic hardship and the incidence of Abusive Head Trauma.

The Challenges of COVID19

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).

The national ICON steering group have been working hard to enhance the ‘iconcope’ website with new video’s and information. They have also been successful in having icon rolled out to all midwifery departments as part of the national COVID 19 response.

 What we need is for all those who work to protect babies and support families know about icon, the risk factors and the icon message and for them to be promoting the website and information about ICON. http://iconcope.org/ 

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