Nearly 250,000 children hurt at play every year

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The Independent Online

Nearly 250,000 children are seriously hurt at play every year and the number is increasing because many have nowhere safe to let off steam, a study shows.

Nearly 250,000 children are seriously hurt at play every year and the number is increasing because many have nowhere safe to let off steam, a study shows.

The figures, published yesterday to coincide with a campaign to give children safe places to play, show 1.5 million youngsters - one in three of the population aged seven to 12 - do not have anywhere suitable to enjoy themselves. Half of the the children interviewed said they played on the pavement and one-third in the road.

The findings, based on 300 children and 300 parents, show one in 10 of Britain's youngsters never plays outside, and threequarters of parents say they worry about their children when they are outdoors.

One-quarter of adults feared their children would be approached by strangers and more than one in five worried about car accidents. Campaigners said youngsters were being confined to their homes because of parental fears. Carol Sheriff, director of the Child Action Prevention Trust, said: "We want to strike a new healthy balance for children and young people.

"Children face an unacceptable choice, either serious injury, or in the worse cases, death, by playing in unsafe places, or obesity and ill-health as a result of being prisoners in their own homes."

The Government has backed the Safe Kids campaign, which aims to reduce deaths and serious injuries in the under-14 age group by 25 per cent over 10 years.

The initiative involves 18 community-based projects around the country, which will organise activities for children and provide safe areas where they can play. Local councils, hospitals, parents and children are all involved.

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