Positive Handling, Physical Intervention and Intimate Care Policy

Policy statement:

This policy sets out how we will use positive handling to promote a child’s well-being and to carry out our duty of care. It also sets out the procedure we will follow in the case of physical intervention being required. This policy relates in particular to EYFS statutory guidance paragraph 3.51.

This policy is used in conjunction with our ‘Promoting positive behaviour’ policy.

Policy Statement

We strive to promote and protect the well-being of every child in our care. This cannot be achieved without the appropriate use of positive handling. Positive handling includes two types of touch: procedural touch and nurturing touch. Procedural touch is used within our setting to help children with their physical needs and development, nurturing touch is used to comfort and encourage children. Examples of positive handling in our care include:

  • Giving a child a cuddle when they are upset.
  • Providing physical care, such as changing a child’s nappy.
  • Helping a child to learn, for example through helping a child to hold a crayon.
  • Holding a child’s hand when out and about.

We are happy to hug, kiss (head or cheek), hold hands, cuddle and tickle etc. your child providing both you and your child is happy with this. We would never force a child to do any of the above if it made them feel uncomfortable, we are conscious that every child is unique in his/her preference for how they want to be touched, and we will be sensitive to each child’s response to touch. Further, cultural backgrounds may dictate what types of positive handling are appropriate. Therefore, if we feel it necessary, we will discuss positive handling strategies with the child’s parents / carers.

Physical intervention procedure

There may be times when we will need to use physical intervention in our practice. Physical intervention is defined in the EYFS:
“Physical intervention is where practitioners use reasonable force to prevent children from injuring themselves or others or damaging property” (P23 footnote).

  • Clause 3.51 of the EYFS also allows physical intervention to manage a child’s behaviour if absolutely necessary, although it cannot be used as a punishment. We will not use physical intervention as a behaviour management tool.

Please see our Promoting positive behaviour policy for details of how we promote positive behaviour in our setting.

  • Whenever possible we will use non-physical intervention methods to stop a child from injuring themselves or others or damaging property. This may be by diverting their attention or giving them a verbal instruction to stop.
  • If we need to use physical intervention to prevent a child from injuring themselves or others or damaging property, we will use as little restrictive force as necessary in order to maintain safety.
  • We will record all incidences of physical intervention. Details recorded will include what was happening prior to the intervention, what intervention was required and what happened after the intervention.
      • We will inform parents and/or carers on the same day, or as soon as reasonably practicable.
      • We will discuss potential future approaches to reduce the likelihood of further physical intervention being required with the child’s parents/carers and record any agreed strategies.

Intimate Care

  • We will also need some physical contact with your child in order to ensure hygiene routines are carried out. For example, the washing of hands, faces and teeth and the wiping of noses.
  • We are happy to assist with toileting according to the age and stage of ability of the child and to change nappies if required. If necessary we will change a child’s clothes if they have an accident.
  • No-one else other than our childminders and any approved assistants will be allowed to change a child’s nappy or provide intimate care.
  • At times of changing nappies and providing intimate care, we will strive to protect a child’s wellbeing through providing privacy, not being judgemental, and only doing what is required in the time required.
  • We will agree with the parent what intimate care will be given as well as the exact procedure for giving it. We will keep a written record of this. This could be to administer medication or to help a child with specific needs. When doing so we will ensure that the health, hygiene and safety of both the child and ourselves are considered.
      • When carrying out the procedure we will check with the child that we are not hurting them.
      • We will keep a record of all intimate care provided.


    If you have any concerns or wish to discuss the matter further please do not hesitate to let us know.