A local hospital is taking a stand against the use of corporal punishment.
Golisano Children's Hospital has established a "no hit zone" throughout the hospital. Dr. Lynette Froula says it's an effort to support parents and educate them that spanking is harmful to children.
"We know everybody wants to do the right thing for their kids,” she explained. “It's not really possible for any parent to do it alone, so we, as part of the community and certainly as a health facility, we always want to promote health and safety."
The initiative first started in the emergency department a year ago and as of November 1, it was expanded throughout the hospital.
Families of patients and hospital visitors will be reminded of the policy through signs and brochures. Froula cited research indicating that a majority – 70 percent – of parents do spank their children. “We see it on very rare occasions (in the hospital),” Froula said.
She believes parents don’t realize physical punishment has been linked to later mental health problems, substance abuse, depression, suicide attempts, and criminal behavior.
"Physical punishment has been researched by all different disciplines in several countries and we know basically that hitting kids hurts them and it results in harm that can last a lifetime and it gets passed on to future generations,” she said.
The concept of a no hit zone began at a children's hospital in Cleveland in 2005. UR Medicine says Golisano Children's Hospital is the first hospital in New York State to implement it.
As to how the policy will be enforced, Froula said the hospital is there to support parents and would interrupt and try to de-escalate any situation where “violence is present or violence is brewing” and direct parents toward family support resources where they would get information about other methods of discipline.