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Risk-Benefit Analysis for Outdoor Play More Common in Europe than US

Winning doesn’t always mean being first. Winning means you’re doing better than you’ve done before.
Bonnie Blair, Speed Skater

European countries have long been using the tool of risk-benefit analysis to guide decisions on safety in outdoor spaces. Here, for example, is an introduction to information for educators on the Scottish National Improvement Hub website:

"This tool supports those who are responsible for outdoor learning to recognise that there is a balance between risk and benefit. It aims to identify risks, eliminating them or reducing them to a tolerable level. Focusing on risk alone can inadvertently create a negative situation where any risk is seen to be unacceptable."

Rusty Keeler in his popular new book, Adventures in Risky Play: What is Your Yes, which just won a gold medal from the Independent Book Publisher Awards, has this to say about the subject: "We want to say yes more but children push the limits and we see danger. In split seconds we scan a situation and make decisions whether to allow play or stop play. Even as super-supporters of play we do that and we should be doing that. But how do we make those decisions? What do we take into consideration? What inner guidance are we listening to?...A great way to get some practice is by going through the risk-benefit analysis process on any given element your child might encounter."

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