Three months ago I ended my column with the following statement: “Assuming the ISO TC 83 terminology paper 'Injury and Safety Definitions and Thresholds' is approved and published, I will discuss the terms and definitions for different types of injuries and break down each type into various levels of severity.” This document has been approved by the International Organization for Standards Technical Committee ISO/TC 83 for Sports and other recreational facilities and equipment, Subcommittee. I believe it is at their editor for printing where it will be given some sort of identification number similar to what ASTM does. I will share my thoughts on some of the terms and definitions within this document. I will try to relate how they may impact international standards related to child injury prevention in the future.
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When the weather outside is frightful recess on the playground may not be delightful. Just ask any playground supervisor. Outdoor recess however, is a reality and daily decisions about “how cold is too cold” is something site principals, teachers and day care directors will be making during the winter months. Snow, wind and icy conditions make deciding when to let kids go out and play a difficult decision.
Two months ago I ended my column with the following statement: “Assuming the ISO TC 83 terminology paper “Injury and Safety Definitions and Thresholds” is approved and published, I will discuss the definitions for different types of injuries and break down each type into various levels of severity.” As of end of 2013, the document has not been voted on.
I recently read a great column by Jay Beckwith on the online Play and Playground News Center titled “Creating Conditions for Play.” His comments struck a nerve. After just finishing my last column related to some of the of the current playground surfacing issues and challenges we face in the USA, I was finding myself pondering the current status of the public playground movement and where we seem to be headed in the future.
I have written previously about my contention that playgrounds and the playground industry have become increasingly out of sync with the needs of children and our communities. It is time we look at ways to make playgrounds more relevant. To begin that discussion we need to start by establishing what the fundamental conditions that support play are. At the most basic level, there are really only two things one needs to provide for play to thrive: Choice and Safety. While these words appear simple, we will see that, in this context, they are very complex ideas.
Nobody wishes to minimize the importance of play, risk, and challenge in a child’s routine development. Likewise nobody wishes to minimize the importance of rigorous safety inspections, maintenance, and repair to keep our children from serious harm and our public play spaces in good condition. What I have learned over the past many years is we all have similar goals.