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MNAAP Newsletter

No Hit Zone at the U of M Masonic Children’s Hospital


By Rebecca E. Foell, MSW, LICSW, and Nancy S. Harper, MD, FAAP

In 2016, The University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital launched the first No Hit Zone in the state of Minnesota. A No Hit Zone is an environment in which no adult shall hit a child, no adult shall hit another adult, no child shall hit an adult, and no child shall hit another child. The purpose of the No Hit Zone is to create a safe and healthy environment for patients, families, visitors, and staff as well as to provide support, education, and resources surrounding effective discipline.

Definition and Prevalence
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2006 defined corporal punishment or physical punishment to include hitting with a hand or object as well as shaking, throwing, scratching, biting, kicking, and burning of children with a call for countries to enact legislation prohibiting violence against children as a form of discipline.

To date, 52 countries have banned physical punishment of children starting with Sweden in 1979. The United States has not yet banned corporal punishment. In fact, 19 states in America still allow corporal punishment in schools, but there appears to be a general shift in the use of corporal punishment in the United States. According to one study, the percentage of mothers reporting that they would hit or spank their kindergarten-age child in response to a child’s misbehavior declined by 20 to 26 percentage points across all income levels between 1988 and 2011. Likewise, the percentage of mothers reporting that they spanked their child in the past week declined by 26 to 40 percentage points. These declines emerged at all income levels.

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