Parents should ask their baby's permission before changing dirty nappy, sexuality expert says

Hundreds of people are criticising the suggestion on social media 

Chelsea Ritschel
Friday 11 May 2018 12:28 BST
Ask your baby for permission to change its diaper says sexual consent expert Deanne Carson

A sexuality expert says parents should ask their child’s permission before changing their nappies - so they can set up a “culture of consent.”

Deanne Carson made the suggestion on ABC News during a segment about teaching consent to young children, and many viewers have since expressed their confusion over the idea.

According to Carson, who describes herself as a “sexuality educator, speaker, and author” on Twitter, a culture of consent needs to start at birth.

To do so, she suggested parents ask their infants questions such as: ‘I’m going to change your nappy now, is that okay?”

Because she is referring to babies, Carson admitted that they will not verbally respond.

She said: “Of course a baby is not going to respond ‘yes mum, that is awesome, I’d love to have my nappy changed.’

“But if you leave a space and wait for body language and wait to make eye contact then you are letting that child know that their response matters,” she continued.

Deanne Carson discussed child consent on ABC (ABC)

According to Carson, who works with “children from three years old,” parents need to introduce these ideas early.

Since the segment aired, many people on social media have criticised Carson and her suggestions for building an environment of child consent.

“Sorry but if a child has a dirty nappy then their parents should change it because that’s part of caring for your child properly - not because their child granted them permission,” one person wrote on Twitter.

Another said: “Can you imagine showing up at the doctors with your baby because due to a lack of permission you couldn’t change its nappy for days and now your baby has a skin condition?”

The segment also prompted Sky News Australia commentator Rowan Dean to label the idea of asking a baby’s permission to change their nappy “lefty lunacy.”

Carson has since responded to the backlash on her social media, where she wrote a lengthy post defending her stance.

“Sadly, some people have chosen to ridicule me (oh no! Pink hair! Must be a lesbian!) and the notion of giving infants bodily autonomy (poo in nappies har har am I right?),” she wrote on Facebook.

The sexuality expert then shared statistics of child sexual assault before continuing: “The work we do with children, teachers and parents is the international best practice in abuse prevention.”

Carson concluded her post warning those that have attacked her that their actions are harmful to survivors of sexual assault as it negates “the voices of these brave survivors of sexual abuse.”

Despite the explanation, people have continued to mock the idea of asking a baby for permission to change their nappy.

“Good news! My three-month-old baby has never given me permission to change his nappy, so I haven’t! Much less work this way!” someone joked on Twitter.

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