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COVID-19 and Children’s Play

COVID-19 and Children’s Play

In a note at the request of the Play Safety Forum (including Play England, Play Scotland, Play Wales and PlayBoard Northern Ireland), Professor David Ball, Tim Gill and Andy Yates summarized evidence on the effect of restricting children’s play as it relates to 1) reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and conversely, 2) negatively impacting children’s social, emotional, and physical wellbeing.

Drawing on numerous lines of evidence, the authors demonstrate that the risk of fatality among children from COVID-19 is very low (approximately 1 in 2 million), that risk of transmission from children to adults is low, and that transmission risk is particularly low outdoors.

Conversely, the authors outline the risks of lockdown on children’s health, namely, the negative impacts isolation has had on children’s social and emotional wellbeing, particularly among those most vulnerable.

The authors argue the unintended consequences of the ‘war’ on COVID-19 is a ‘failure to properly assess the risks of collateral damage to children and adolescents’. Acknowledging that the closure of outdoor playing fields and playgrounds was an appropriate precautionary measure initially when little was known about the virus, the authors argue that now, children should be permitted to play, outdoors and often.

Read the full document here.