Playgrounds have embraced a safety first approach

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The article reports how playgrounds run by councils who have embraced a safety first approach in recent years - fitting rubber matting in playgrounds and removing sandpits, rocks and paddling pools.

Councils are revising their guidelines in light of the decision in the National Trust case which ruled that even the most careful risk assessment can be proved wrong by events.

It reports that there are fears that sterile play environments do not teach youngsters about risk. The new approach has been embraced by South Somerset Council who are introducing playgrounds with traditional climbing frames, rides and sand and water features together with natural  flooring. A revised play strategy has also been development which has had legal input.

Bernard Speigal who helped South Somerset Council come up with the strategy said :

"We have been obsessed with Risk Assessment but that is the wrong starting point. Instead we should talk about risk benefit - the quality of life that comes from experiencing danger.  We don't want children loosing fingers in badly designed swings or getting their heads trapped under a roundabout , but there is nothing wrong with a bump, bruise or  graze."
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