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Call to let children try climbing trees

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Call to let children try climbing trees

A generation of overprotected children need to be given greater freedom to learn about risk as they play, the health and safety regulator said today.

Children need to try outdoor activities such as climbing and playing conkers in order to grasp the realities of the world, it continued.

It comes in response to a “significant loss in freedom” for children over the past 40 years and proposes a more balanced approach which accepts children will often be exposed to risk and even danger when they play.

Play providers should focus on “sensible adult judgements” rather than an overblown fear of litigation and prosecution, the joint statement from the Health and Safety Executive and the Play Safety Forum said.

They should determine how children can benefit from play while still making sure they are not exposed to unnecessary risk.

HSE chairwoman Judith Hackitt said: “Health and safety laws are often wrongly cited as a reason to deny children opportunities, contributing to a cotton wool culture. I welcome this statement, which brings clarity to what really matters when managing the risks associated with children’s play.

“Whilst HSE’s main focus is on health and safety in the workplace, it is clear that attitudes to risk are formed long before young people enter the world of work.

“Play outdoors teaches young people how to deal with risk and without this they are ill-equipped to deal with working life.”

The HSE said previous research had shown half of children aged between seven and 12 are not allowed to climb a tree without an adult present and one in five have been stopped from playing conkers because it is “too dangerous”.


Written by vaphc

September 5, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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