Managing the risks of “risky” play

   Managing the risks of “risky” play

Play comes as naturally as breathing to children. A visit to the playground is often the setting for fond childhood memories.  

While play and healthy outdoor activity should be encouraged, we should also be mindful of the inherent risks involved, especially when visiting playgrounds. Research indicates that in the UK there are roughly 40,000 injuries to children per year on playgrounds  that result in a hospital visit.

Approximately 40 per cent of playground injuries occur due to faulty equipment, and of these, 80 per cent result in a fall to the surface. Of the remaining accidents, at least four per cent involve children being struck by a swing seat (although the resultant injury is usually not serious), with a similar number being bitten by dogs and being cut by glass.

Therefore, the challenge is set out in front of us: how do we manage the risks presented by playgrounds and play sites with only necessary interventions? This will be the focus of the upcoming RoSPA Playsafety Conference 2019.

At the conference, presentations will be made by a number of experts covering issues of interest to anyone involved with playgrounds and play safety. This includes leisure managers, local authority playground managers, local council clerks, playground operators and volunteers.
Delegates can expect to hear from:

David Yearley, head of play safety at RoSPA Play Safety

David will launch the conference with an overview of the past, the present and future of play safety. He will follow this up with a session exploring the use of timber in children’s playgrounds and what the effects of wood decay can be. Various methods of detecting decay before it becomes problematic, including resistograph testing, will be highlighted.

Tim Gill, Rethinking Childhood

Tim Gill, an independent researcher who manages the Rethinking Childhood blog, will consider “how we can all learn to stop worrying and love risky play”. Tim will define “risky play”, demonstrate why it is important and how we can manage the associated risks properly.

Joe Cooper, specialist design and build, natural playground company, Touch Wood

Joe Cooper, from specialist design and build natural playground company Touch Wood Enterprises, will look at the concept of natural play. Joe believes that children have an innate biological drive to play which naturally propels them to interact with the physical world around them in diverse and dynamic ways. He will explain how natural settings and materials provide opportunities for children’s play that both enhance wellbeing in the here and now, and form positive memories that can last a lifetime.

Following lunch and networking, the Play Value Awards will take centre stage. At every inspection RoSPA undertakes throughout the UK, an assessment of the play value offered to children is made. The best will be showcased at the conference, which will hopefully inspire delegates to take back new ideas to the play sites they manage.

The 2019 RoSPA Play Safety Conference takes place on December 5 at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, next to National Exhibition Centre. You can register for the waiting list for RoSPA Play Safety Conference here.
Posted: 12/2/2019 3:19:46 PM 0 comments


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