Today’s children lead sedentary lives with limited opportunities for exploration of the environment around them and development of the necessary skills to protect their overall health. The encroachment of safety in children’s play impacts their development of the knowledge and skills necessary for negotiating a complex world. The short and long-term consequences for this disruption of childhood are compelling. There is mounting evidence linking early exposure to age and stage-appropriate risk to outcomes such as resilience and reduced rates of anxiety and depression. Early exposure to risk and the development of risk management competencies has a positive impact on reducing unhealthy risk-taking behaviours in adolescence.
The concept of Risky Play challenges the traditional paradigm of injury prevention and forces us to redefine what risk means to healthy child development. This presentation will challenge participants to review the traditional injury prevention paradigm of reducing and eliminating risk by considering the long-term implications of a childhood without risk. Participants will gain new knowledge about defining risk in the context of play, awareness of the language of risk, and its implications for supporting efforts to re-introduce risk to young people. Tools and resources will be introduced that aim to address the conversation about risk in the community both with organizations providing play experiences as well as among parents and caregivers.
By the end of this session, participants will be able to:
- Identify “safety creep” as it applies to children’s recreational play
- Define risk to align with principles of healthy child development
- Describe the relationship between experience of risk exploration in childhood with the development of risk management skills
Presented by: Brandy Tanenbaum
Brandy Tanenbaum is a certified risk manager and works as an injury prevention program coordinator at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. She is passionate about driving community health through quality physical activity. Her interest started at a young age growing up in a neighbourhood where kids played outdoors until the streetlights came on, and then grew further when completing a master’s degree in public health. Working in sport and healthcare for more than 25 years introduced her to new people, big ideas and global concepts that helped shaped her focus today. She is presently on a mission to explore physical literacy as it relates to injury across the lifespan.
The opinions expressed by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies or views of Public Health Ontario, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by Public Health Ontario.
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