Children usually want to and participate in risky or challenging varieties of play although, and to a certain extent, it involves the risk of getting injured or hurt. Because of the safety concerns of the Western culture, the issue of risky play in early years and the degree such play should be monitored and regulated are crucial and continuous debates (Greenfield 2003). These debates on play safety have generated safety proceedings and legislation from concerned child care workers and parents. This has invoked further disputes on the balance between the benefits of risky play for child development on one hand, and safety proceedings and litigations on the other hand (New, Mardell & Robinson 2005).
Normally, play occurs under the supervision of adults, hence controlling what children are permitted to do and where they are permitted to go (Gill 2007). For this reason, adults are influencing the safety of children when playing, and, simultaneously, they embody the greatest limitation on the child’s capability of experiencing challenges and risks that are eventually favourable for development (Gill 2007). A persistent argument in the literature is the children gain developmentally from taking risk, and that too much protection from risk can hamper development.
In a continuously evolving world, environmental and social aspects have significantly affected children’s opportunities for emotionally and physically challenging play. Where previously youngsters may have played in the street, playing ball games, riding bicycles or playing other outdoor activities, increased road hazards has made the streets and play opportunities restricted to children as the risk or perils are extremely high. Children nowadays are confined to their houses or designated areas for relatively secured places to play. Still even these are transforming (Ball 2002). With increasing populations, the enlarged need for