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Should I let my child take more risks?

In our helicopter-parent, safety obsessed society, we live in fear of our children getting hurt. We try to provide as safe a world as possible for our children to grow in. But are we doing our children a favor? Is that the healthiest way for them to grow and mature?

New research published in “the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health says children need “risky play” (which includes climbing and jumping from a height, unsupervised play where a child could get lost, cycling fast down a hill, playing with knives, or playing near water or cliffs). It adds that children who do so improve their reaction time in detecting risk, increase their self-esteem and are less likely to takes risks related to sex and drugs as adolescents.”

“A Canadian study found that 81% of parents of 10- to 12-year-olds were worried about “stranger danger”, yet researchers point out that the odds of abduction by a total stranger are one in 14m. Serious risks from playgrounds (ie trapped heads and strangulation by equipment when parks used to have ropes) have largely been eliminated. Two large New Zealand studies of nearly 31,000 children reported no head or spine fractures from playgrounds in more than two and half years. Broken bones (mostly upper arm) do happen, but are rare – the Ottawa study reports an average of 1.5 injuries per 10,000 hours of play. So will you let your child play unsupervised”

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