Helping parents to support children to safely travel and play outside independently as they grow.
Resource 1: How to help your kids get around safely on their own (745KB)
Resource 2: Parental fear: a barrier to the independent mobility of children – Research highlights (2.8MB)
Resource 3: Parental fear as a barrier to children’s independent mobility and resultant physical activity – Final report (1.6MB)
Children who are able to play and travel without an adult and those who walk or cycle to school are more likely to meet Australian physical activity guidelines, according to findings from research that investigated the role that parental fear plays in shaping children’s independence and physical activity, the first of its kind in Australia.
The three-year study (2012 to 2015) was initiated and funded by VicHealth and commissioned to La Trobe University and the Parenting Research Centre addressed a gap in evidence, if parental fear is a barrier to children’s independence and getting enough physical activity. Just one in five Australian children is physically active for the recommended one hour each day. It included a survey of more than 2000 parents of children aged nine to 15 from across Victoria.
A practical guide to help parents to support children to safely travel and play outside independently as they grow is also available to download. How to help your kids get around safely on their own offers tips to parents on how to help your child travel safely from dependence to independence.
Preliminary findingsIn 2014, VicHealth released preliminary findings of the survey of over 2000 Victorian parents. It suggested that children’s independence was related to parental concerns about safety in general and harm from strangers in particular. It found 36 per cent avoided situations where their child went out without an adult because they were fearful they will be approach by a stranger while 13 per cent were anxious about their child’s safety when they were out somewhere familiar without an adult.