Has old-fashioned fun been trumped by fears of injury and legal action?

As everyone from Girl Guides, to businesses, and local councils spend millions on liability insurance, one Alberta town tries to ban shinny on the local pond. Has old-fashioned fun been trumped by fears of injury and legal action?

  1. Victoria Williams from Victoria, B.C. emailed:
    In my experience as playground inspector, I did a lot of education with the facility managers about the difference between risk and hazards. Of course we want children to take risks to the degree that they can manage. If they climb up, for instance, they must be able to climb down. Hazards on the other hand, are things that can be changed to mitigate bad injuries.
  2. James Bruce Craig from King City, O.N. emailed:
    I've also been an elementary teacher and watched the issues around student safety grow and grow. I strongly believe kids need to be active in a variety of activities, taught safety and given reasonable supervision. Accidents do happen in spite of taking reasonable precautions and this is part of life. Liability has become the biggest problem and greatest limiting factor of all for children's activity and many adult activities.
  3. Hilary Knight from Victoria, B.C. emailed:
    When I was thirteen I had a toboggan accident, collapsing a lung, cracking a couple of ribs, and knocking myself out for a couple of minutes. Big deal.

    I spent a couple of weeks in hospital and found the experience so interesting that I became a Candystriper, which was one of the most competence- and self-esteem-building experiences of my life.
  4. Debbie Gregory from Barrington, N.S. emailed:
    You can't solely blame school boards and their staff for these seemingly silly rules. In fact, they are responding directly to complaints made by very vocal parents. If a teacher or board is threatened with lawsuit , they will naturally protect themselves even when they know the value of real play.
  5. Heather Kirby from Calgary, A.B. emailed:
    My best friend and I had a daredevil club when we were 10 yrs old. Yes, we got hurt (never serious) and learned that wasn't a good move. To encourage my children to take calculated risks we did mountain climbing, slot canyons, and caving. Every child needs to try something scary and within their limits and then push those limits to learn risk and respect limits.
  6. Ieneke van Houten from Nakusp, B.C. emailed:
    In my third grade class room stood a small book case with mainly non fiction children's books, the Brian Moll library. Brian had been a precocious 8 year old with a love of biology. He was killed riding his bicycle. His memory was honoured but it never occurred to anyone that children should stop riding bikes.
  7. I think my best example of modern liability/risk phobia was when I enrolled my almost-13-year-old daughter in a one-day babysitting course where she'd learn first aid, child care, diapering, the whole thing topped off with a nifty wallet card showing t...See More
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