A new paper providing statistical evidence and expert opinion relating to the impact of Covid-19 on children’s health, adds further weight to calls to Government to follow Scotland’s example and reveal when public playgrounds can open up again.

The Association of Play Industries is campaigning to get playgrounds included in the roadmap out of lockdown and has written an open letter to the Prime Minister.  API Chair, Mark Hardy, says: “The study released today, commissioned by the Play Safety Forum and supported by the Children’s Play Policy Forum, supports our campaign to bring playgrounds back into use to alleviate the impact of lockdown on children.

“Children have suffered greatly and the essential role of play is being overlooked, with the most disadvantaged children disproportionately affected. 1 in 8 UK households have no garden or outside space and public playgrounds level up the inequality experienced by those children.”

The CPPF says that children should be allowed to play outside together freely (while adopting good hand hygiene practices), playgrounds should be re-opened with immediate effect, and other measures should be taken to open up local streets and public spaces for play, particularly where families have poor access to outdoor space.


The study, Covid-19 and Children’s Play, concludes:

  • The benefits to children of playing outside bring a host of social, emotional and physical rewards. These have long been undervalued and at this time appear to have been completely ignored. Consequently, children are suffering harm;
  • The evidence is that the risks posed by COVID-19 to children playing in outdoor spaces is very low;
  • proportionate decision-making requires that trade-offs between the risks and benefits of safety interventions are part of the decision process. The evidence [in the report] is that current UK policy is much more harmful to children than beneficial.


Chair of The Children’s Play Policy Forum (CPPF), Robin Sutcliffe, adds:

“We support the API’s campaign to demand that this Government urgently allows and encourages children back outside to play. We are agreed that lockdown for children is having a deleterious effect on the wellbeing and physical and mental health of children. This is particularly true of children in the areas of greatest deprivation. “Our understanding is that children under the age of 15 are very rarely seriously affected by Covid-19 and that they are less likely to be spreaders of the virus than adults. On the basis of these facts, the CPPF completely supports API’s demand that Government ‘Opens up and encourages children out to play again’.”


Notes to Editors

The Association of Play Industries (API) www.api-play.org  is the lead trade body within the play sector and campaigns at the highest levels for policy recognition for play. Its members are leading manufacturers, installers, designers and distributors of both outdoor and indoor play equipment and safety surfacing. Founded in 1984, the API represents 85% of the play industry.

The API operates under the umbrella of the Federation of Sports and Play Associations (FSPA), the national trade body responsible for representing Sports and Play Associations in the UK’s sport and play industries. www.sportsandplay.com

Media Contact

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