UK Report Says We Must Not Be Overprotective of Our Children

by Savitha C Muppala on  January 24, 2009 at 4:42 PM Child Health News   - G J E 4
 UK Report Says We Must Not Be Overprotective of Our Children
As a part of healthy physical and social development, chidren must be allowed to break their legs and eat poisonous plants, a British report has said.

The document urges local councils to build playgrounds and parks that may "increase the likelihood of injuries", so that they can learn how to manage risks as a part of their normal growing.

Even the tiny risk of drowning is "tolerable" when building paddling pools, according to the report.

The proposal came amid concerns that some play areas are being made too safe because of "fear of litigation and a wider blame culture".

It said that the lives of children have become "much more restricted and controlled" over the last 30 years.

This has noticeably decreased the opportunities for young people to play alone and explore the local neighbourhood.

The document says that "reflecting the concerns of the most anxious parents" by altering the design of playgrounds should be resisted.

"It is unhelpful always to define 'harm' and 'injury' as negative," the Telegraph quoted the document as saying.

"In daily life we respond to the concept of 'harm' in a highly nuanced way, particularly where children and young people are concerned. The phrase, 'That'll teach you!' is an acknowledgement that self-generated harm can be a valuable form of instruction.

"In many instances, the presence of a hazard - an unguarded vertical drop, a wobbly bridge - is potentially to be welcomed.

"What counts as an adverse outcome is also different. In a playground, bumps, bruises, scrapes and even a broken limb are not necessarily warning signs of greater dangers, as they might be in a factory or an office environment," it added.

Eating mildly poisonous plants or berries offer both "good and bad risks", says the document.

"It is almost unheard of for children to die or be permanently disabled from eating poisonous plants, but this has not stopped some local authorities and others from removing traditional plants from parks and public spaces," said the guidance.

Even construction of paddling or swimming pools should also go ahead.

This involves a "very low but irremovable risk of drowning - even with parental supervision - but this is normally tolerable", the guidance added.

Source: ANI

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