Mollycoddled kids not developing motor skills

May 26th, 2008 - 2:15 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, May 26 (DPA) Look right, look left, and look right again before crossing the road: it’s a rule from the Highway Code that is lost on a whole generation of Australian children who only ever see the street from the back seat of a car. Anxious parents instil in them a belief that the outside world is inherently dangerous, with adults lurking in the street to abduct them and vehicles round the corner ready to run them over.

“Kids tell us they can’t ride their bikes around streets any more,” New South Wales Commissioner for Children and Young People Gillian Calvert told a conference in Sydney.

Anxiety over stranger-danger and traffic accidents have children missing out on basic life skills and simple pleasures.

“Over the past 10 years we have seen a real reduction in the range at which children can leave their family home and move freely,” Calvert said.

Along with crossing the road, the banned list includes climbing trees, riding bikes and running errands.

Sports medico Carolyn Broderick said mollycoddled children were not developing their motor skills. She said a quarter of parents would not let their children play sport for fear of injuries.

In some schools, it’s now an offence to run in the playground. Parks across the country have had their play equipment removed by councils hit by compensation claims for sprained ankles, cuts and bruises.

The conference was told that parents who wanted to child-proof the world were a factor in the obesity crisis. More than 30 percent of children are overweight and one in 10 is obese - three times the rate only 10 years ago.

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