Often when I write articles I receive some comments in which the question of the risk and the danger of the proposal is raised to me. For example, why do I defend floors made of natural materials instead of rubber, which is apparently safer? Why do I propose that the little ones use very low swings so that they are autonomous instead of safety swings? Are ropes dangerous for children to play with? Etc etc.

After a little more than a year and a half that I have been writing this blog I have realized that there is a general and constant concern about the risks and dangers for children, especially in outdoor spaces and that it is an issue that deserves to be addressed .

We have to talk much more about risk in the game because it is useless if we go with the children to the park or to the mountains if we do not let them do anything imprisoned by our fears. We cannot convey a constant message of danger when children play.


When we talk that we should allow risky games or that children take risks, it does not mean, at all, that children should be exposed to dangers .

We understand risk in a positive and healthy sense when children can exercise physically by learning about their strengths and knowing the limitations of their own body , experiencing fear, security … In this way we allow the child to develop the knowledge of their own capacities , not interfered by adult fears .

In addition, it is not about the child taking risks, but about carrying out activities that lead to the decision about risks . I think it is a very necessary point because children, in general, are very aware of their abilities and tend to evaluate very well what they can do without putting themselves in serious danger.

To give practical examples, climb trees, jump logs, climb some big rocks, etc. they are activities that involve decisions about risks (in the healthy sense that we have said).

This risk is not equivalent to danger. I like to consider them different aspects because sometimes there is a lot of confusion about it. Allowing children to do activities that carry a certain risk does not mean that they can perform or be exposed to all kinds of dangers.

For example, walking over a precipice without security fences at a height of 10 meters or a park made on concrete ground is, clearly, dangerous.


I think that something that we all have to be clear about is that it is not possible to completely eliminate risks in childhood (as in life).

We are very concerned with completely eliminating any dangerous situation, but creating aseptic, hyper-protected and padded environments also carries risks for the little ones, as much or more dangerous than letting children calibrate each situation.

When children cannot play outside freely, when we prevent them from assessing for themselves the dangers of each situation, when we advance to their “analysis” with a “you will fall”, “not that it is dangerous”, and so on. we are preventing them from assessing situations for themselves, thus atrophying their own radar and being able to make dangerous decisions when an adult is not watching or in adulthood .

But there is another problem even more unknown . When we constantly stop the initiatives of children, when we prevent them from moving freely, children can present sensory deficits and problems in the vestibular system (which can lead to difficulties in posture, balance or orientation of the body in space).


There is a large regulation related to the construction of play materials for children. Whether they are park structures, or related to toys. But for what there are no regulations (and it would have no effect) is to foresee the relationship and way of interacting that children will have with these materials .

Who of you have not been in totally safe parks, with a swing, a slide, a rubber floor and little else? And how many times do you see children throw themselves headfirst, or head and back, or side? Even if we eliminate all risks, they will look for them, surely not so much to seek a risk in themselves but to respond to their need to calibrate themselves, to move forward, to see how far they can go , to prove what they do when they see that they have not estimated well. their capabilities… it is a need that they try to see satisfied in one way or another, even if the environment is not favorable to them and it is “dull and limited in possibilities” .

If we forbid them to climb trees … they will look for other elements in which to satisfy that need


Allowing children to take risks while playing and exploring is, for many adults, one of the most complicated tasks of accompanying children. That is why I wanted to leave you some ideas here, very simple, in case they serve you and help you in this beautiful and at the same time so complicated task of accompanying the little ones in the game.

1. GOING OUT TO PLAY OUTDOORS: Going outside to play is essential for children to be able to play and take risks in their explorations. It is necessary to leave protected and closed environments and have free time, not “hyper supervised” by the adult.

2. TAKE CARE OF OR CHECK THE SPACE PRIOR. When we talk about not constantly watching and supervising children it does not mean that I can completely disconnect from the situation.

An important task is to make sure that the place does not present major dangers, be it very deteriorated park structures, rivers with strong currents, sharp elements in the area, etc.

And once the area has been checked and depending on the age of each child, it is necessary to take a step back and allow them, the little ones, to make the decisions related to risk, taking into account the age of each child, of course.


Often we adults have many fears but paradoxically we take them to a lot of places that they, by themselves, could not.

But in this way we are not helping them to assess their capabilities or to adequately estimate the dangers of each situation. If we care about their safety, the ideal is for children to climb where they can by themselves. This will help them to have clear ideas about their abilities and to act without putting themselves in danger.

3. DIFFERENTIATE OUR FEAR FROM YOURS. Something that is fundamental is not to transmit our own fears to the little ones. Language is very important, much more than we think.

While we have not been able to overcome our own fears, it is very important to try to avoid the phrases such as “you will fall” or “that is very dangerous” and replace them with a much more real phrase that is “I am afraid of that”.

I mean, I’m scared, adult. It does not have to scare you (child). I’m telling you this so that you are alert and pay attention, but if you feel that you are capable, go ahead.

4. CONSIDER CHILDREN AS SELF-EMPLOYED AND CAPABLE PEOPLE. I believe that we must start from the premise that children are capable beings, with a sense of responsibility and with the possibility of calibrating the risks of each scenario.

In general, children who have been allowed to handle risks from the cradle are usually very aware of their possibilities and are responsible for them.

There is nothing that makes a child more capable and confident than the people who love and care for him trust his abilities .

I conclude now, highlighting the complexity of this issue, because the perception of risk is subjective. What for some is tolerable for others is frankly dangerous. But I feel like a balance has to be found.

In recent years there has been a trend of strong protection of children, of cushioning their environment to the maximum. Therefore, it is now up to all of us to work on our sense of perception of risk, avoiding unnecessary dangers, but giving them the opportunity to have a healthy and fun childhood.