Risk and Safety in Play: The Law and Practice for Adventure Playgrounds

Risk and Safety in Play: The Law and Practice for Adventure Playgrounds

Risk and Safety in Play: The Law and Practice for Adventure Playgrounds

Risk and Safety in Play: The Law and Practice for Adventure Playgrounds


Produced by PLAYLINK, a registered charity which assists local communities to create adventure playgrounds for children. Established in 1962, PLAYLINKis recognised as the national authority on good practice for play provision of this type.
This essential handbook draws on PLAYLINK's 35 years experience with adventure playgrounds, introduces recent changes to legislation and gives guidance on the interpretation of legal responsibilities. It is intende for all those working as play officers, playworkers, playground designers or consultants in supervised play provision, legal advisers and regulatory authorities. It will also be of interst to anyone involved in leisure and recreation management and the design and construction of sports facilities.


Opportunities to play are vital for the survival and healthy development of children. The Charter for Children's Play produced by the Children's Play Council states that:

play is an essential part of every child's life and vital to the process of human development. It provides the mechanism for children to explore the world around them and the medium through which skills are developed and practised. It is essential for physical, emotional and spiritual growth, intellectual and educational development, and acquiring social and behaviourial skills


PLAYLINK believes that the best play provision aims to offer children access to the widest possible range of experience in a setting free from unacceptable risk. Adventure playgrounds are specifically designed to meet children's play needs in this way. They allow the child to explore, manipulate, directly experience and affect their own environment and manage an acceptable level of risk without coming to harm, as well as to experience the pure pleasure of play. Within the adventure playground setting, it is possible to offer opportunities for creativity and imagination where the emphasis is always on the child's choice and control over their own experience.

An adventure playground is defined as an enclosed play area, supervised by playworkers, which is not accessible to children when not supervised. Typically they provide outside space with a variety of environmental modifications and play structures and an indoor space with tables and chairs and materials for crafts, drama, games and so on. Because they are free of charge at the point of entry, are permanently staffed and community based, they provide a familiar environment for children which gives them both a sense of belonging and ownership and the valuable opportunity for making sustained relationships with trusted adults outside the home.

With the exception of specialist facilities for children with disabilities, such as those provided by HAPA, adventure playgrounds do not provide day care.

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