Skip to content

Keeping babies safe

We want to keep children safe and pass on key information that allows everyone to understand and act early to prevent harm.

Having a baby provides parents with lots of learning opportunities to understand what their baby is telling them. Understanding of this is really important and will inform how they respond to their baby when they cry. Babies do cry, part of this is how they tell their parents what they need. Are they hungry, tired, need a nappy change, need some stimulation, over stimulated, too hot, too cold, unwell or just need to be close to their parent. It is a big new world out there that they are not used to with many sensations, emotions and new experiences. Like us they can be overwhelmed. They need reassurance of the world they have been born into.

The Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative provides us with research-based information that considers how to build close and loving relationships with your baby in a responsive manner. Babies have a strong need to be close to their parents, as this helps them to feel secure. However, crying levels do vary and some babies might cry a lot, which may be distressing and stressful to parent/carers and child alike. But however stressful it is, please remember that it is never okay to shake a baby. We want to keep children safe and pass on key information that allows everyone to understand and act early to prevent harm to every child.

Pass it on

Recently, there have been rises in both incidences of Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in babies across the country. There are a few reasons why these can happen and certainly with SIDS we do not always know what caused the baby to die. However, we do know certain factors that can increase the risk of AHT and SIDS. When a baby is shaken they have a high risk of trauma including AHT and when a baby is placed in an unsafe sleeping environment or position it increases the risk of SIDS. We want to make sure that everyone is aware of the guidance, help and support to cope with a crying baby and ensure safer sleeping for infants.

ICON has been specifically designed to help parents and carers cope with crying baby, while The Lullaby Trust offer expert guidance on how to ensure safe sleeping for your baby.

Comforting crying babies

Sometimes for parents they have tried everything. They have fed, changed, cuddled, checked temperature, gone through the HANDi app to check their child is not unwell, undertaken skin-to-skin contact but still the baby continues crying. ICON provides additional guidance on what to expect, how to cope and what you can do.

ICON’s main message being if the crying gets to much it’s ok to walk away – never, ever shake a baby. ICON stands for:

I – Infant crying is normal

C – Comforting methods can help

O – It’s OK to walk away

N – Never, ever shake a baby

A poster explaining the ICON programme

More information about ICON is available from the following sources:

Safer infant sleeping

Did you know that that risk of sudden infant death syndrome is 50 times higher for babies when they co-sleep with an adult in particular on a sofa or armchair? This increases further when their parents smoke, are unwell, are particularly tired, are takings some forms medication, are under the influence of alcohol or when the baby is low birth weight.

Every year over 500 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly, and over half of those deaths remain unexplained. While it is not always known what causes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), we do know that there are some simple steps parents can take to reduce the risk of it happening.

The Lullaby Trust work hard to raise awareness of SIDS and aim to make sure that all parents receive up to date and scientifically-proven advice on how they can keep their baby as safe as possible.

You can find out more information about safe sleep on their website.

Additional information, resources and support is available on the Devon Health Visiting website.