Hitting Hurts: American Family Children's Hospital becomes "No Hit Zone"
Madison, Wisconsin - UW Health is joining a community-wide initiative to stop corporal punishment including spanking and hitting. As part of "Hitting Hurts," UW Health will create "No Hit Zones" in all of its facilities starting with American Family Children's Hospital.
Under the initiative no hitting of any kind is allowed by adults or children. UW Health is joining the Dane County District Attorney's Office, which became a "No Hit Zone" in 2014.
"I'm thrilled that UW Health is partnering with the district attorney's office to create violence- free surroundings for both children and adults," said Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne. "The ‘No Hit Zone' helps parents understand the detrimental outcomes associated with the use of corporal punishment as a form of discipline."
"The goal of the ‘Hitting Hurts' campaign is to educate the public about the risks of using corporal punishment on children. UW Health's No Hit Zone will reinforce this message by creating a safe, healthy and non-violent environment for everyone," said Dr. Barbara Knox, medical director of the UW Health Child Protection Program and associate professor of pediatrics at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. "Our hope is that this initiative will grow to include communities and families."
"Most adults were spanked or hit as children," said Dr. Knox. "But years of research tells us that hitting hurts in a variety of ways and on many levels. Additionally, it can lead to the physical abuse of children."
Research shows that hitting or spanking children teaches them to use violence to solve problems and that children who are punished with violence can do poorly in school and are more likely to be involved in delinquency and criminal behavior.
Other research indicates that children who experience violence are at a higher risk of physical and mental health problems as adults, and children who have been physically punished may have difficulty forming healthy attachments and may not be able to trust other people.
At the news conference, Boys and Girls Club President and CEO Michael Johnson told the story about his own childhood experiences with corporal punishment. Johnson said his upbringing made him vow that he would never hit his own children.
Additionally, Windy Smith, nurse manager at American Family Children's Hospital, discussed her childhood, where she was frequently beaten with a belt and addressed the fear these experiences brought to her life.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommend that parents avoid spanking and other forms of physical discipline of children. Knox said patients and families visiting UW Health facilities can be stressed and the behaviors of young children can intensify feelings and lead to physical punishment.
Signs will be placed in UW Health facilities and staff are being trained in distraction and deescalation techniques in case they witness hitting or spanking. They'll also distribute a pamphlet that explains the harms of hitting and spanking; outlines effective discipline forms and techniques that don't involve the use of physical punishment and provides resources for parenting including www.uwhealthkids.org/hittinghurts.
Date Published: 10/11/2016