I read Wayland Van Hildyck-Smith's letter with disappointment (Health and Safety Executive ruining children's 'growing up' - 20 November 2010) and feel clarification is needed.
Far from banning the long list of activities cited, HSE actively encourages young people to enjoy their childhood.
Risk is a necessary part of growing up and HSE agrees children shouldn't be wrapped in cotton wool. We survive and develop by learning how to deal with risk. It's about ensuring that risk is managed where it can be, not eliminated.
Often what stops important recreational and learning activities is a fundamental misunderstanding of health and safety, not the laws or official guidance. HSE is not here to ruin anyone's fun.
As Ms Van Hildyck-Smith points out, life is short enough. We campaign for safer and healthier workplaces to prevent it being shorter than it need be.
Regional Director, South West
Health and Safety Executive