A Kansas City, Missouri, hospital has launched an anti-spanking initiative, making its premises a “no hit zone” and encouraging other forms of discipline.
“This means that we do not allow hitting of any kind: by adults or children, including parents hitting or spanking children as part of discipline,” Children’s Mercy Hospital’s brochure said, according to KMBC-TV.
The rule went into effect at the hospital last month.
“The studies have shown it leads to more physical, aggressive behaviors from the child,” Amy Terreros, a nurse practitioner with the hospital, told KCTV-TV. (One such study has linked spanking with acts of aggression on the part of the child who was physically punished.)
If a parent is caught spanking in the hospital and it leaves a mark, a social worker will be called, Terreros said. A medical professional will also evaluate the child in such a case.
Social workers will not get involved in spanking — or corporal punishment — cases unless it leaves a mark. A recent study has shown that parents who spank are more likely to have visits from child protective service organizations, but spanking might not have been the only factor in these cases.
“[It's ] not looked upon to spank your kid,” Nichole Stone, a mom visiting the hospital, told the news station, later adding that a public place, especially a children’s hospital, is not where such punishment should happen.
“People say it isn’t good or we shouldn’t do it at all, but kids need spanking and sometimes they get out of control,” Cyniqua Scott, another mother, said.
In June, the hospital is hosting a workshop about the “no hit zone” with information on other forms of discipline.
Children’s Mercy Hospital is not the only one to adopt a “no hit” policy. Kosair Children’s Hospital in Kentucky also has established an anti-spanking rule in its facilities.