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18th Apr 2016

Irish Kids Spend Less Time Outside Than Prison Inmates

Katie Mythen-Lynch

Ever wondered why the local green is empty, or why the swings and slides in the park are eerily quiet? 

According to leading early childhood education expert, parents fears about exposing their children to the elements and ‘stranger danger’ means they are cooped up indoors for longer than the average convicted criminal.

While prisoners are entitled to at least 60 minutes of fresh air a day under UN rules, the majority of Irish children are getting less than that.

Speaking to the Early Childhood Ireland conference, Dr Carmel Brennan warned the “schoolification” of children’s lives and the pressure to do well in exams could lead to stress and emotional disorders.

“To be outdoors in the soil and out in the weather is critical to their wellbeing, but many young children don’t even get to be outdoors for an hour a day,” she told the Irish Independent.

“They’re always under the gaze of an adult,” she said. “But we are advocating for the freedom of children to be outdoors with their friends. Children need to spend more time outdoors and in nature.”

Do you think Irish kids need more time outside? Let us know on Twitter @HerFamilydotie.