Tips for Restraining a Violent Child

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It is sometimes necessary for an adult to restrain a violent child in order to protect the child from himself or to protect other children from the violence. Restraint refers to the use of physical methods to stop a child from moving freely and may be done in a variety of methods.

Training is Essential

Prior to attempting to restrain a violent child, it is important that adults receive training from an appropriate agency. Agencies that provide restraint training include state school districts, foster parent agencies, hospitals and public juvenile detention facilities. Proper training teaches adults when and how to restrain a child properly. Proper training is necessary because children who are restrained initially typically react with a greater display of violence, which could cause an untrained adult to be harmed. Additionally, training helps assure the child is restrained in a manner consistent with keeping the child from being harmed and keeping the adult free from liability.

Restraint Methods

Most jurisdictions do not allow the use of artificial or chemical restraint aids by nonprofessionals. Examples of artificial restraints include: ropes, chains, cages, lap belts and straps. Examples of chemical restraints include the misuse of prescribed or non-prescribed medication with the intent of rendering a child unable to move. Chemical methods of restraint that are not allowed include pepper spray, mace or other chemical poisons. These artificial and chemical methods are not to be used except by specially trained professionals, such as medical and law enforcement personnel.

Written Documentation

Prior to using a physical restraint method against a child, it's important to document the behaviours that caused the need for physical restraint. Documentation should also include the method of restraint used and the outcome. It is critical that copies of the written documentation be provided to appropriate supervisory personnel and regulatory agencies immediately, as soon as the child and others present are safe from the immediate threat of violence.

Don't Interfere with the Child's Breathing

During the physical restraint process, it's important not to place a child in a position that causes breathing to become difficult or impossible. It is critical that the person who is restraining the child does not place the child's face down onto any surface that could affect breathing. Pressure or weight should never be placed on the child's chest while restraining him.