UK: Bid to end smacking in shops

[10 April 2007] - The NSPCC is looking to work with retail partners to support parents and help stop smacking in UK shops. This follows a new survey showing that 86 per cent of adults would be happy to shop in a smack-free shop - with 40 per cent actively preferring to shop where smacking is not allowed.

The survey of more than 1000 adults, by ICM for the NSPCC, reveals that 77 per cent of adults believe smacking is becoming less acceptable, with less than half (41%) having seen a child smacked in public within the last six months. Nearly all (93%) respondents would like shops to take action to help parents avoid losing their cool with children.

Many retailers have introduced family-friendly measures in recent years - such as parent and child parking, double seated shopping trolleys and nappy changing facilities. The adults in the survey also recommended crèches, toys, and advice leaflets as ways of keeping shopping with children calm and stress-free.


NSPCC parenting advisor Eileen Hayes said: "Shopping with a young child can sometimes try the patience of the most caring parent.

"Supermarkets and other retailers can build on the progress they have made in meeting parents' needs, taking account of changing public attitudes towards smacking.

"Shops can help parents to take the stress out of shopping in simple ways. They can display leaflets on how to deal with tantrums and difficult behaviour, train staff to support those who are struggling and provide play areas for bored or acting up children.

"The NSPCC understands pressures on parents and is keen to work with retailers looking to make shopping a more pleasant experience for all. Helping parents not only makes good business sense, by promoting good parenting and discouraging smacking, retailers can show they care about customers and children."

When asked how they felt about seeing a child being smacked, a majority of adults in the survey said they felt concerned for the child (65%) and upset (51%). Just over half (51%) said they would like to do something to stop a child being smacked, with most of those wanting to comfort the child (42%) and help the parent (47%).

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