Safety fears 'prevent outdoor play'

It may be the summer holidays but fears over safety and traffic are preventing children playing outdoors, according to a new poll.

Almost half of parents (48.8%) say concerns about strangers stop their youngsters playing outside while a similar proportion cite traffic as a barrier.

The survey, released to mark Playday 2012, reveals that nearly a third (30.7%) of parents say their son or daughter does not play outside the house due to fears that they will have an accident or be injured.

There were also concerns about intimidation from others and crime while around one in six (17.1%) say that their child does not play out because they simply want to be indoors.

The poll, which questioned 1,000 parents, suggests that many believe they had more time to play when they were young.

More than two-fifths of those surveyed (43.6%) said that compared to today's children, they had more time to play and do their own thing, with just under a fifth (18.4%) saying they had less time.

About a third said they had about the same amount to play as today's generation of youngsters.

Cath Prisk, director of Play England, which campaigns to give children play space, said: "Simply playing outside should be a normal, everyday event for all children.

"If we want to foster the next generation of Olympians and sports stars, then we need children with confidence, who love being active and are confident in tackling challenges.

"If parents are too afraid to let their children play out - because of fear of strangers, traffic or their children having accidents - then we as a society need to address this fear."