An Area of Public Concern Relating to Childcare: Nurseries Banning Physical Contact Such as Cuddles

A portion of nurseries across the country are banning their staff from kissing or cuddling the children at nursery in attempt to avoid paedophilia accusations. This ban has been put in place after high profile cases such as the 2009 Plymouth child abuse case involving nursery worker Vanessa George. This has sparked nurseries to draw up policies where kissing, cuddling and even 'unnecessarily' holding the hand of child is banned and will result in disciplinary action if staff do not obey the policy.

The view from these nurseries that have put this ban in place is that it is inappropriate to kiss, cuddle or allow a child to sit on your lap as it could open staff up to accusations of paedophilia. It is put in place to protect staff as they believe it is inappropriate contact and that parents may become concerned by staff getting to close to their children. This has gotten out of hand as there have been high profile cases in the media. Nurseries are worried about a parent seeing a member of their staff engaging in cuddling/kissing/close contact with their child and the parent believing there is an inappropriate relationship going on.
These nurseries also believe that this specific attention to the children could harm their independence and some parents can get jealous of a child's close bond with their nursery key worker. A parent on a website forum made for parents wrote: “How would mummies react if it was a man who was kissing and cuddling the kids? I am sure there would be a few more frowns and disapproval on here...will probably suspect him of being a sexual predator... Ironically women are just as likely to be predators and tend to work in the child care field. Its sad, because we still can't accept that a woman can be capable of bad things, we brush it off and think our kids are safe...that a woman being affectionate is 'normal' when in truth, we don't know that for sure.”
One point of view is that it is very harmful to a child's development...