PLAYGROUNDS must be made more adventurous with an added element of controlled risk if children are to get the best out of them, one of Britain's leading experts on play will say today.
David Yearley, of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, says that an over-concentration on safety in recent years has resulted in the spread of "boring" public play areas, which posed risks of a different kind.
It is when children become bored with spaces that they are supposed to play in that they turn instead to play in really dangerous places, such as along railway lines, river banks and on roads, Mr Yearley is due to tell the society's play safety conference.
Mr Yearley also said that over-cautious parents who continually reined in their children could be as much to blame as the equipment for playground boredom.
“As a parent, I want to protect my child from harm. However, if you protect them from any kind of risk, they never build up their ability to assess risk themselves. Then they fail to take that ability into adulthood for tasks such as driving that do involve risk assessment,” he said.
Around 40,000 British children aged under 16, out of a total of 12 million, are injured each year while playing. Playground accidents cause one child death every two to three years.
I have long held a belief that there ought to be a measure of how many kids there are with broken arms. When I were a lad every class had someone in plaster, now it is very rare to see one. My theory is that there is an inverse relationship between broken arms and kids having fun ( to a degree) and that the number is a good indicator of how fulfilling childhoods are. I would guess about 1 child in 30 per annum would be a sensible number to aim for.