ERIC Number: ED325215
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Jun-7
Playground Needs of Children, and Safety: An Issue in Conflict.
Those who design and develop playgrounds are caught between the desire to provide developmentally appropriate, challenging opportunities for play and the desire to restrict play challenges in order to reduce danger to children or the likelihood of being held liable for injuries. While there can be no argument against accident and injury prevention, an argument can be made about the extent to which recommended playground standards should be allowed to restrict children's developmental play. Safety standards are producing playgrounds that are colorful and cute rather than challenging and complementary to children's development. Construction of safe playgrounds involves consideration of a few important developmental facts. First, children are natural explorers of their limitations, seeking higher levels of challenge that will enhance their repertoire of skills and competencies. Second, what is safe and unsafe to an adult is often a matter of personal perception, judgment, and past experience. Third, children with high and low self-efficacy differ in their perception of what they can do with the skills they possess. A challenge and a hazard differ in that a hazard is something that is hidden, or at least not perceived by the child, while a challenge is something the child may see as dangerous. Playgrounds must provide numerous entry levels with ascending increments of challenge. (RH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the International Association for the Child's Right to Play (IPA) World Conference (11th, Tokyo, Japan, June 7, 1990).