Charity says designers shun kids

Call for designers to focus more on needs of children.

Designers are selling children short, with parks and open spaces devoid of fun and facilities for kids, according to a charity that has conducted a survey revealing some shocking statistics about child safety. The Children’s Society called on designers to increase their focus on children’s needs and urged the Government to be more vocal in its support of gardens. “Crime is on the decrease and abduction levels are no higher, but our society has generated a culture of fear,” said chief executive Bob Reitemeier. “The Good Childhood Inquiry revealed that in 1970 a typical nine-year-old girl was allowed to wander on average 840m from her front door, whereas today’s parents are unlikely to let her stray further than the garden gate. Furthermore, 80 per cent of primary-school kids walked to school in 1970 compared to more than 10 per cent today. “Changing the culture means putting a lot more focus on how we design our spaces. When designing an estate, park or city centre we don’t give anywhere near enough attention to how children will fit in,” said Reitemeier. He added: “Government and local authorities need to do more to promote gardens because they encourage unstructured play. Part of growing up is being able to explore without activity sheets, and getting out in the fields and gardens gives children that freedom.” * Download details on the Good Childhood Inquiry are available at www.goodchildhood.org.uk.

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