Risky Play and Children’s Safety: Balancing Priorities for Optimal Child Development
Children’s safety and development is important. Current trends show us that reduced time spent playing outdoors is influenced by parental and societal concerns. A growing body of research suggests that excessive restrictions on children’s outdoor risky play negatively effects their development. This study explores the relationship between child development, free play, and perceptions of risk with the aim of supporting child injury prevention. This study suggests that keeping children safe means letting them take and manage risks and that new approaches are evolving which seek effective strategies for keeping children “as safe as necessary,” not “as safe as possible.” The researchers outline the importance of play as a crucial ingredient for healthy child development and review the evidence for arguments supporting the need for risky play outdoors.
Subject Area: Risk