Children and safety
Children’s development is shaped by their experiences, made possible by using all their senses. In the play school of life, the confrontation with sources of danger is a basic subject which is essential and ensures survival.
The child is confronted with a hot oven, a high step, a self-closing door and can sometimes also suffer injury and pain. A healthy child needs these experiences in order to develop techniques that allow them to avoid pain in the future.
Adults who do not allow their children to experience this learning opportunity, out of a misplaced understanding of safety and a perceived sense of responsibility, prevent the development of self-protective behaviour.
Children seek out risk and adventure to continue to extend their skills. A little boy climbing up onto a wooden pig with a great deal of effort risks falling down. He understands this exactly but nevertheless continues bravely to try until he has mastered it.
During this phase of self-discovery, limits need to be tested again and again which means the right situations for growing kids are essential. Opportunities for challenge, which are not dangerous but certainly contain risks, need to be a component of recreation areas for children and young people.
A range of studies have shown that young people are more frightened by boredom than risk. A lack of experiences and not enough physical activities lead to deficits. Risk and adventure is a must.
A society which seeks to prevent such situations because of an obsession with danger runs the risk of driving the growing person into really dangerous activities, such as train surfing. In the process of planning and installing play spaces, all aspects of human development need to be put into focus and not just issues of safety.
We would be happy to supply further information on the subject of safety upon request.