Do you work with children as part of your job? If so, you have probably been made aware of your organization’s policies with respect to child protection. Here are a few great reminders about appropriate touching when caring for children in a work setting. *
- Appropriate touch to arms, upper back, head and hands only.
- Inappropriate touch is to chest, stomach, lower back, legs and private parts. Good rule of thumb is never touch where bathing suit covers. Exceptions to this may be for diapering/toileting, swim or gymnastic instruction. Be sure to check with your supervisor regarding your organization’s policy.
- Hugs are sometimes necessary to comfort a child. Use side hugs for appropriate time length. Avoid full frontal hugs and long lasting hugs.
- Lap sitting may only be appropriate for preschool children and is never appropriate with older children.
- Be aware how children respond to touch and get permission to touch; for example, when tending an injury.
- Set boundaries with clingy children; for example, allowing only goodbye/hello hugs.
- Report disclosures by children of inappropriate touch to supervisor/appropriate authorities.
- Teach children about appropriate touch and body safety rules: private parts covered by bathing suit are theirs and no one should touch; you can say no to touch that makes you uncomfortable and you can tell a trust adult; listen to your feelings like the uh-oh feeling that something is wrong; to respect others (adults and children) by not touching their private parts and; lastly, that if someone does touch them it is not their fault; it is against the law for someone to touch their private parts.
*Adapted from Touching Safety training offered by The Redwoods Group for youth serving organizations.