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Health and safety rules in sport : a talking point

Do rules around health and safety in children's sport reduce their abilities to assess risk?

Princess Anne has expressed concern that introducing health and safety rules into sport reduces a child’s ability to assess risk for themselves.

Any parent obviously wants to keep their child safe, but there has to be a balance. Without any risk, it is difficult to teach a child how to solve problems but also what their limits are. If we don’t learn this as children, then as we develop into adulthood, are we going to be able to assess risks thoroughly?

Clearly health and safety rules are needed in some settings more than others. For example, they are essential in a workplace. This is to operate safely, look after your employees and also any clients or customers. Therefore it is necessary that the health and safety rules applied to a context are appropriate. Our courses encourage participants to remain aware and assess risk for themselves alongside using the essential skills that we teach.

Whether you played lots of sport as a child and were able to fully assess risks as a result, or perhaps you simply weren’t that sporty so didn’t get those opportunities, we don’t think this is the end of the line in developing awareness about risk.