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HSE responds to Express article "We're too scared to let our children go outside to play"

Article:
"We're too scared to let our children go outside to play" - Daily Express, 6 March
Response date:
6 March 2012

Dear Editor

It is understandable that parents wish to protect their children (We are too scared to let our children go outside to play, Express, P7, 6 March), but trying to wrap them in cotton wool can only store up problems for the future.

Playgrounds and pastimes which attempt to eliminate the possibility of every minor bump and scrape, cough and sneeze, are not only sterile and joyless, but also fail to educate children about how to deal with risk sensibly.

However well intended, this cosseting fails to prepare young people for adult life and the world of work, where they are expected to be able to recognise and deal with risks for themselves. Our system of workplace health and safety is based on the principle of managing risk, not attempting to eliminate it - and it is in children's best interests for their formative experiences to do the same.

Yours faithfully,

Judith Hackitt
Chair
Health and Safety Executive

Updated 2012-05-16