Families and schools are taking out accident insurance as teachers take the fun out of playgrounds to prevent smashed teeth and other mishaps.
Research in the Australian Journal of Teacher Education says anxious schools are going into safety overdrive, removing play equipment and ensuring teachers closely monitor playtime.
It coincides with some state schools promoting student accident insurance in their newsletters.(Nothing new about student accident insurance. I had it when I was a kid back in the 60s-70s)
The Education Department has been reminding schools that they do not cover medical costs for injured students unless they or the school has been negligent.(Again nothing new about that)
One mother who spoke to Fairfax Media assumed her school's insurance would cover medical treatment for her son, who fell at school camp and now needs $20,000 worth of dental surgery.
She called on Victorian schools to take out accident insurance policies that covered all students, which she said would reduce costs for parents and the need to enter into litigation.(I don’t know why she would of thought that. Teachers are covered by WorkCover but not ‘insurance’. When my school was broken into 10 years ago I lost hundreds of dollars of my own belongings but that wasn’t covered by insurance. I used to send home Ambulance membership with my first newsletter of the year because that is also not covered if needed by a student. I should do that again)
Kevin O'Reilly, from insurance broker Aon Risk Solutions, said the most common student insurance claims were for broken bones, dental work and physio and chiropractor costs.
"Schools are still cautious because things are going to happen, they always happen," he said.
"Touch wood this year we haven't had quadriplegic claims but it has happened in the past from rugby injuries."
The report's author, Charles Darwin University education academic Dr Brendon Hyndman, said the trend of "surplus safety" at schools was worrying.
Restrictive play time left kids bored, and increased the chances they would injure themselves or bully other kids – the common reason why pupils felt unsafe at school, the report stated.
It said while playground injuries were a leading cause of hospitalisation for children, free play was crucial to student's health, wellbeing and social behaviour.
Dr Hyndman said adults perceived students as vulnerable and wanted to protect them from "a suite of modern dangers".
Safety is a big concern for some schools and they prioritise keeping children safe, but we don't want to bubble wrap kids so they don't have any exposure to the appropriate risk taking, nor do we want them to take silly risks and for their play to end in misery.
It's important that creativity is expressed in the real world as opposed to the classroom.I inspect our playground every morning and play equipment every week but that doesn’t stop accidents from happening.