Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play

A diverse, cross-sectorial group of partners, stakeholders and researchers, collaborated to develop an evidence-informed Position Statement on active outdoor play for children aged 3–12 years. The Position Statement was created in response to practitioner, academic, legal, insurance and public debate, dialogue and disagreement on the relative benefits and harms of active (including risky) outdoor play. The Position Statement development process was informed by two systematic reviews, a critical appraisal of the current literature and existing position statements, engagement of research experts (N = 9) and cross-sectorial individuals/organizations (N = 17), and an extensive stakeholder consultation process (N = 1908). More than 95% of the stakeholders consulted strongly agreed or somewhat agreed with the Position Statement; 14/17 participating individuals/organizations endorsed it; and over 1000 additional individuals and organizations requested their name be listed as a supporter. The final Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play states: “Access to active play in nature and outdoors—with its risks— is essential for healthy child development. We recommend increasing children’s opportunities for self-directed play outdoors in all settings—at home, at school, in child care, the community and nature.” The full Position Statement provides context for the statement, evidence supporting it, and a series of recommendations to increase active outdoor play opportunities to promote healthy child development.

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