Soft Playgrounds

A new report out of Norway says we may be going too far in trying to create safe playgrounds for children. And that by robbing children of the opportunity to take risks and overcome fears, we may be stunting their emotional growth by obsessing over their physical safety.

Today's guest host was Jim Brown.

Part One of The Current


It's Friday, July 22nd.

Barack Obama's budget chief says he thinks "responsible leaders in Washington" will prevent the government from defaulting.

Currently plans to exhume Roosevelt, Lincoln, and Jefferson are underway.

This is the Current.

Children's Playgrounds: Ellen Sandseter

We started off The Current today with the voices of parents talking about safety at the playground in Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto. Conversations like those have been happening all over the country for several years now, as municipalities spend big bucks replacing old playground equipment and pulling up concrete slabs in an effort to keep kids safer.

But as that last parent hinted at, there's something to be said for letting children take a few risks as they play.

In fact, according to a new report out of Norway (where officials have so-far resisted replacing a lot of their old playground gear), obsessing over safety can actually stunt children's psychological development.

Our first guest is Ellen Sandseter, a researcher behind the new report. She's a professor of psychology at Queen Maud University in Norway. But she was in Split, Croatia this morning.

Children's Playgrounds: Michael Ungar

The conclusions of that study ring all too true to Michael Ungar. He's a professor of social work at Dalhousie University. He's also a clinician and the author of Too Safe for their Own Good. Michael Ungar was in Halifax.

Children's Playgrounds: Pamela Fuselli

But even if risky play does help children develop, there's still a need to keep kids safe. Pamela Fuselli is the Executive Director of Safe Kids Canada. She was in Toronto.

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