unlawful daycare discipline techniquesDiscipline is not punishment. Instead, discipline should teach and guide children, according to Kentucky Guidelines for Childcare Technical Assistance.

Children are under the supervision and guidance of adults for their safety and so that they can learn. Sometimes, this requires the adults in charge to discipline the children to correct their behavior. When discipline is used correctly, it can help shape a child’s behavior and teach the child right from wrong. However, the right to discipline a child is not unlimited.

Kentucky Daycare Discipline Should Not Hurt Children

Kentucky state regulations and guidance prohibit the following forms of discipline in Kentucky daycares:

  1. Corporal punishment. This is defined as the intent to inflect physical pain, but it does not include spontaneous action to protect a child from an immediate danger. Specifically, pinching, hitting, swatting, thumping, smacking, spanking, and other forms of physical discipline are prohibited punishments. For example, a staff member may not hit a child as a punishment for throwing sand. However, a staff member may grab a child forcefully by the arm to prevent the child from running into a road with moving cars.
  2. Loud, profane, threatening, frightening, or abusive language. According to the Kentucky Guidelines for Childcare Technical Assistance, “It is never acceptable to use harsh words toward a child.” Yelling at a child, or another adult, or using curse words in any manner is considered inappropriate behavior. Instead, staff should use encouraging words toward the children in their care.
  3. Discipline related to rest. Forcing a child to nap or to stay awake should not be used as a method of discipline.
  4. Discipline related to toileting. Using harsh words or bullying a child who is learning to use the toilet, or not allowing a child to use the toilet when needed, is not an acceptable form of discipline.
  5. Discipline related to food. Withholding food or force feeding a child are not reasonable forms of discipline.
  6. Restraint in cribs or high chairs. While children should be restrained in appropriate high chairs for feeding and in cribs for napping, high chairs and cribs may not be used for disciplinary purposes.

Instead of disciplining in the ways described above, each daycare center should develop discipline policies that should be followed by daycare staff. These discipline policies must not include anything listed above and should explain to parents the specific reasonable and age-appropriate methods of discipline that daycare staff will use when correcting their children’s behavior.

In many instances, the discipline policy for each age group served by the daycare will be provided in the daycare center’s handbook. It is important to review the policy, to ask questions about the procedures, and to immediately report anything that deviates from those policies or procedures.

What to Do If Your Child Is Hurt While Being Disciplined at a Kentucky Daycare

Your daycare provider may not tell you exactly what happened. The staff member’s report to you or the written incident report may leave you with a lot of questions that the caregiver is unwilling to answer and that your child is unable to answer. Accordingly, it is important for a full investigation to be conducted. You deserve to know what happened to your child so that you can help your child through this difficult time, and, if appropriate, fight for your child’s full legal recovery.

Our experienced legal team knows what questions to ask and what evidence to request after a daycare injury so that we can get a complete understanding of the situation that led to your child’s injury. If the discipline did not meet Kentucky guidelines, your child may have been abused and we will do everything in our power to get your child the full and fair recovery that he deserves. To learn more, please contact us at any time, 24/7/365 to schedule a free consultation and please read a free copy of our book, A Parent’s Guide to Daycare Injury Cases: How to Obtain Justice When a Kentucky Daycare Facility Harms Your Child.

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law

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