Responsibility for Children’s Play

Illustration of a carSadly there are many obstacles impeding children’s freedom to play. Play spaces are being gobbled up by development while the volume of traffic has increased to such an extent that it is hazardous for children to play outside in their community as they once did. Meanwhile an emphasis on school work and after school activities eats into the time children once spent playing together. Fear of ‘stranger danger’ makes parents worry about the safety of letting children out to play and the scope of children’s play is limited by safety concerns in the school yard.

Yet children have a right to play and it is important to ensure play is provided for as communities change.

Who is responsible for outdoor play facilities?

Photo of a boy coming down a slideResponsibility for children’s outdoor play facilities rests with a number of different bodies. The Office of Public Works has responsibility for maintaining playgrounds in some areas such as the Phoenix Park in Dublin. Local authorities are responsible for providing and maintaining play facilities.

Under the Urban Design Guidelines (2009), published by the Department of the Environment, children should be provided with safe areas to play in new housing developments.

Since the publication of the National Children’s Strategy in 2000, all local authorities should have a designated play officer. If you have concerns about the play policy in your area, contact us.