How Safe is Too Safe?

girl on monkey bars 198x300 How Safe is Too Safe?This week is National Playground Safety Week (NPSW), a time designated by the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) to focus on children’s outdoor play environments and pledge to use good judgment when playing.

We commend NPPS for their ongoing dedication to supporting safe and developmentally appropriate play environments.

The observance of this special week got us wondering: Is there such a thing as being overly cautious when it comes to letting our kids play?  Could some individuals’ zeal to protect children today unintentionally jeopardize the health of future generations?

It’s true that today’s playgrounds are safer than ever before – thanks in part to the efforts of organizations such as NPPS – but could too many precautions actually do more harm than good by restricting children’s ability to play freely?

Childhood obesity has reached epic proportions. Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. And for the first time in U.S. history, children are expected to die at an earlier age than their parents.

At Playworld Systems, we believe outdoor play is essential to a child’s physical well-being and sets the foundation for a lifetime of healthy activity.

We know playgrounds must be safe, but as a society, are we so concerned with precautionary measures and avoiding injury that we’re sacrificing the future health of our children?

What do you think?


  1. Playgroundideas | April 28, 2011

    Considering that it seems like playground injury rates have plateaued, it would seem to me that we have gone far enough with playground safety and indeed, need to start looking more into how we can increase the benefits of play to children without becoming more cautious as it seems to have little effect from this point forwards.

    Serious injury on playgrounds needs to be dealt with, but getting hurt is a great natural teacher of where the boundaries of life are and it seems that children learn from this much more effectively than by simply being told where the limits are ( which often doesn’t work at all)

    Playgrounds without risk can cause a child to misjudge their ability and safety and think they are indestructible which may cause them to take greater risks in other places that may not have all the soft fall etc causing a child greater injury

    My 2 cents

  2. Modesta Cordova | July 11, 2011

    This is a good article! As the saying goes, too much of something is bad. I’m glad that we commemorate National Playground Safety Week (NPSW). Indeed true, playing outdoor is an essential part of our children’s development however, as parent, we should secure a healthy and safe playing environment for the children.

  3. Oscar | July 13, 2011

    Playgrounds should be safe enough but it should also let our kids play more. Especially that child obesity has been a trend in recent years, we should let them do physical activities so I think that playgrounds should be designed to allow safe playing of children but does not hinder them to move freely.

  4. Maricela Olson | July 14, 2011

    “Outdoor play is essential to a child’s physical well-being and sets the foundation for a lifetime of healthy activity.” I agree with you. As a child, you have to experience the joy of playing outside. This will help you become physically fit.

  5. Jan | July 23, 2011

    Obesity is a far more frightening prospect than a scraped knee in the playground. We take out daughter almost daily to our local playground and she gets a couple of hours of outdoor run around fun and excercise and hasn’t had an accident yet.

    I agree that the playground should be basically safe but let’s not go overboard here.

  6. Sam Jahor | August 22, 2011

    They say that the sandbox is the most dangerous part of the playground. Supposedly the fact that a child might eat the sand or that they could get trapped in the sand – isn’t even the scariest part…apparently, all of the urine and feces is a fact of life when small kids are there. I saw a report on 20/20 about it, so you know that it’s a big deal.

    Food for thought

  7. karl | September 20, 2011

    No one knows when accident comes. The best thing to do is always remember to be careful, conscious and alert every time. One of the most dangerous activities of children is playing. Even the slide has edges to hold on to control your drop you still never know if you balanced well and safe. For all parent, we have to be watchful for our children. They are prone to injuries and accident, so we have to guide them properly.

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