Appropriate touch


Eastern Oregon University Head Start staff will adhere to the following procedures outlining appropriate and inappropriate play or touching of children in their care. 



  1. Nurturing touch is crucial to developing a good relationship with children. Children should be touched appropriately on their faces, hands, shoulders, and heads. Except for diapering and assisting with wiping/cleaning after toileting, EOUHS staff will not touch a child in the area normally covered by a bathing suit.  


  1. The following actions are considered harsh punishment and are forbidden in all CPCD programs: 

  • Verbal abuse

  • Yelling

  • Intimidation

  • Shame

  • Rough handling

  • Shoving

  • Hair pulling

  • Arm pulling

  • Shaking

  • Slapping

  • Spanking

  • Biting

  • Pinching/Poking

  • Hitting

  • Forcibly repositioning a child (to sit or stand a certain way)

  • Requiring a child to do or say anything that is demeaning to their character (Hazing)

  1. Gentle and non-restraining physical redirection, such as loose open-hand guidance of shoulders, may be utilized to help guide a child with the intended purpose when necessary. Physical redirection is not to be used in a harsh or demeaning manner. When needing to move children physically, the teacher will tell the children and or explain what he/she is going to do before touching them.  


  1. If necessary, staff may pick a child up in a non-restraining manner to ensure the child’s and other children’s safety. The staff member will use personal judgment to determine if picking up the child would put them at risk of injury.


  1.  Brief non-restraining protective interventions may be necessary in emergencies, such as when a child’s behavior produces an immediate and serious risk of injury to the child or others (i.e., running into traffic). Such instances should be followed by team meetings regarding possible modifications to prevent further occurrences of similar emergencies. 


  1. Punitive restraint that immobilizes or reduces the ability of the child to freely move his or her torso, arms, legs, or head is prohibited.  


5.   EOUHS provides the following as general guidelines and examples for staff to understand appropriate touch better. 


  1. Affectionate hugs for the children should be brief and appropriate.

  2.  Staff should never tickle children as it is overstimulating and not trauma sensitive.

  3.  Holding a preschooler or toddler on your lap is appropriate for short time spans when comfort is needed.  Children should not straddle adults at any time. 

  4.  EOUHS staff or volunteers shall never kiss a child on their lips and never let a child kiss you on the lips. 

  5. Avoid taking a single child to an area where they may not be observed by others.

  6. First Aid should be administered as gently and respectfully as possible. Always ask for assistance if the child needs to be removed from the area.

  7. When assisting children on swings, staff may gently push them on their back only or push the chain of the swing.  Children should not swing higher than 4-5 feet off the ground.  

  8. A game such as “Red Rover,” “Crack the Whip,” or any game where children lock each other’s arms and hands and another child forces them apart is inappropriate.

  9. Swinging children around by their arms or hands could lead to the dislocation of a shoulder, elbow, or hand and is inappropriate. 

  10. Staff will be aware of hand placement while assisting children with seat belts or checking on the child’s self-help skill at buckling to be sure not to touch any area normally covered by a bathing suit.  

  11. When diapering, two people should be present if possible (this is not required by licensing but is considered best practice).  Maintain one hand on the child at all times for safety.   

  12. When needing to assist a child with wiping and cleaning themselves after using the toilet it is recommended that two staff be present.


6.   All procedures as outlined in this policy will be followed at all times. If anything happens that staff believes may put them at risk of being accused of inappropriate actions by anyone, they will inform their Supervisor immediately and appropriate action (if deemed necessary) will be discussed.