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Oklahoma Day Care Centers / Child Care Centers – What Rules and Regulations Apply to Behavior and Discipline in the Facility? Can a Day Care Center Physically Punish a Child?

By Roy S. Dickinson, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


In Oklahoma and other states, day care centers / child care centers inappropriately discipline children in a harsh, neglectful, and harmful manner. We all know that children will misbehave and fail to follow directions at time. Day care center employees should exhibit patience and control when dealing with a misbehaving child. Oklahoma day care centers and child care centers are regulated by Oklahoma Department of Human Services through Requirements for Oklahoma Child Care Centers.

Any discipline by an Oklahoma day care center caregiver or administrator must be constructive, educational, and appropriate for the child’s age and the circumstances of the situation. The regulations allow staff members to teach by example, to supervise with firmness, to redirect children as needed, and use other forms of verbal instruction and encouragement of the children. Oklahoma law prohibits staff members in day care centers from spanking, striking, punching, popping, shoving, biting, yanking, or slamming the child. Punishing the child by forcing the child to eat or put something in the child’s mouth like hot sauce would also be prohibited under these regulations. Using harsh or profane language is also prohibited. Humiliation is also prohibited by the regulations.

Oklahoma regulations pertaining to behavior and discipline make sense and serve to promote the health, safety, and physical and emotional welfare of the child.

If a facility has inappropriately disciplined or harmed a child in the child care center, parents should consult with an Oklahoma child injury attorney to determine the legal rights of the injured child and what steps to take to deal with the abusive or neglectful conduct of the day care center.

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