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What is abusive head trauma (AHT)

  • Child abuse
  • ‘Shaken baby syndrome’
  • Catastrophic injuries:
    • Bleeds in the brain and behind eyes
    • Fractures
  • Babies can be shaken, thrown or hit
  • Affects approximately 25 of every 100,000 babies admitted to hospital each year
  • Research suggests one in nine mothers may have shaken their baby and up to two in nine felt like doing so

Who shakes and why?

  • 70% perpetrators are males – fathers/male surrogates (Kesler et al., 2008; Altman et al., 2010)
  • Can occur in every socio-economic group
  • Coping with crying: Living on the edge
  • Caregivers lose control and shake – baby stops crying
  • Demonstrable relationship between the normal peak of crying and babies subject to AHT (Barr et al., 2006)
  • Increase in cases in the first month of life, a peak at six weeks during the second month and a decrease during the third to fifth months of life


  • Crying is considered the main trigger
  • Peak of crying is six to eight weeks of age
  • The parents or the mothers partner are responsible for AHT in 75% of babies
  • The majority of perpetrators are male
  • The most at risk groups are:
    • Male babies
    • Below 6 months of age
    • Low birth weight
    • Regular contact with health professionals

Crying Curve


ICON Prevention

ICON is a programme of intervention based around coping with crying. The programme requires the same messages being shared with parents and carers at different stages by different professionals.


Hampshire ICON Evaluation Report 1 year on

The Hampshire ICON Evaluation Report 1 year on evaluates and summarises information, feedback and audits that were conducted to establish how embedded the ICON Programme had become one year on from its successful launch in 2018.

Safeguarding Infants Thematic Review 2022

The Hampshire Safeguarding Infants Thematic Review Executive Summary 2022  was developed to highlight the key findings of the HSCP Safeguarding Infants thematic review and share learning across the Hampshire workforce.

The thematic review looked at the partnership understanding and response to safeguarding infants in Hampshire utilising various methodologies. The aim was to establish a holistic view of current work, promote best practice and identify any areas that require strengthening.