Re 'No one to protect them' (front page, March 23): The persistence of the problem of child deaths should make us realize that we are looking at the problem the wrong way. We cannot contain the problem by regulating the normal practice of hitting and using violence against children.
As a community, we must support and publicize a new normal that says, 'It is never OK to hit a child.' This is the motto chosen by In Support of Children, a student organization at Old Dominion University. Ever since the 2006 torture, starvation and beating death of Nixzmary Brown in New York City, the group has held vigils to honor children killed by their supposed caretakers. The vigil supports the idea that if we don't stop the gateway behavior of hitting, we cannot stop the killing.
Some parents or caretakers may refrain from hitting their children because they fear intervention by social services agencies. But other parents, citing their parental responsibility and rights, will continue to injure children 'for their own good.'
Some child development specialists and even some religions support causing pain to children. It is certainly part of most of our personal experiences, and we draw on those experiences to determine how we should treat our children.
Everyone who interacts with children, from parents and social workers to educators and health professionals, should make the words 'It's never OK to hit a child' one of their tools. If we truly believe that children have a right to physical integrity and human dignity, and, if we act on those beliefs, then we have a chance to reduce the killing and abandonment of our children.