Child Prone Restraint in New Hampshire

PRS Briefs
Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Prone restraint is a type of physical restraint in which an agitated individual is placed in a face-down position. It is used to control an individual who poses an imminent danger to themselves or others. The New Hampshire restraint law (RSA 126-U) is currently ambiguous. While some stakeholders believe it outlaws prone restraint, others argue to the contrary. In this report, we analyze pertinent sections of RSA 126-U. Additionally, we review the prone restraint statutes and reporting systems in eight other states. While we aimed to assess the incidence and safety of prone restraint in these eight states and New Hampshire, our assessment was limited by our inability to acquire comprehensive prone restraint data. Through interviews with medical experts, training program leaders, residential facility representatives, and a review of existing literature, we provide information about the relative value of prone restraint and the physiological, psychological, and economic consequences of prone restraint. Finally, the report presents the Office of the Child Advocate and the Committee on Children and Family Law with policy options concerning RSA 126-U.