Well, let me hasten to add that I’m talking about the folks running insurance companies in GERMANY. There, they have found that kids growing up with little chance to learn how to assess risk (because, in part, the playgrounds are so safe and boring) end up accidentally hurting themselves more often as adults.
That costs insurance companies money!
So their solution — based on research — is to have playground designers make exciting, even daunting equipment that requires kids to pay more attention to what they’re doing. This explains why some German playgrounds have installed climbing structures that are 30 meters high — that’s about 90 feet!
In our litigious American culture, I have no idea if we can follow suit. But I do know that if we keep trying to erase every risk from childhood — for instance, not even letting our kids walk a few houses home from the bus stop — we risk something else: Raising kids ill-equipped for the real world where not every risk is covered with 12 inches of mulch chips.
My further thoughts on this are here, on the Let Grow blog!