Intimate care of children
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When working with young children, or children with disabilities or special needs, it is sometimes required to care for children in intimate ways. This can include changing them and applying medication. Consideration needs to be given to meeting the child’s needs in a sensitive and caring manner, whilst ensuring this is done in a safe way.
Some job responsibilities necessitate intimate physical contact with children on a regular basis, for example assisting young children with toileting, providing intimate care for children with disabilities or in the provision of medical care. The nature, circumstances and context of such contact should comply with professional codes of practice or guidance and/or be part of a formally agreed plan, which is regularly reviewed. The additional vulnerabilities that may arise from a physical or learning disability should be taken into account and be recorded as part of an agreed care plan. The emotional responses of any child to intimate care should be carefully and sensitively observed, and where necessary, any concerns passed to senior managers and parents/carers.
All children have a right to safety, privacy and dignity when contact of a physical or intimate nature is required and depending on their abilities, age and maturity should be encouraged to act as independently as possible.
As with all individual arrangements for intimate care needs, agreements between the child, parents/carers and your organisation must be negotiated and recorded.
Young people are entitled to respect and privacy at all times and especially when in a state of undress, changing clothes, bathing or undertaking any form of personal care. There are occasions where there will be a need for an appropriate level of supervision in order to safeguard young people and/or satisfy health and safety considerations. This supervision should be appropriate to the needs and age of the young people concerned and sensitive to the potential for embarrassment.
Adults need to be vigilant about their own behaviour, ensure they follow agreed guidelines and be mindful of the needs of the children with whom they work
Some children may need medication to be administered while in the care of your organisation. In circumstances where children need medication regularly a health care plan should be drawn up to ensure the safety and protection of children and staff. With the permission of parents, children should be encouraged to self-administer medication or treatment including, for example any ointment, sun cream or use of inhalers.
When administering first aid, wherever possible, staff should ensure that another adult is present, or aware of the action being taken. Parents should always be informed when first aid has been administered.
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