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07-06-2018 | Original Paper | Uitgave 9/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 9/2018

Physical Risk Taking in Preschoolers: A Comparison Between Children’s and Mothers’ Perceptions

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 9/2018
Anna Di Norcia, Anna Silvia Bombi, Eleonora Cannoni, Gemma Marano


Children's injuries are a serious public-health problem, but they could be substantially reduced by proper prevention. According to the literature the best predictor of injuriesis the physical risk taking. In this study we examined preschoolers' and mothers' perceptions of children's physical risk taking. Participants included 203 children (M age = 60 months), their mothers and their teachers. We first compared children's and mothers' answers about desired and allowed level of risk in some play situations,and then we verified if children's and mothers' ideas equally predicted the risk for injuries at school. The teachers completed the Injury Behavior Checklist. Findings showed that children's desired risk taking was higher than their mothers believe. We also found that children at school, in absence of their parents but under the supervision of another adult, behaved according to their own wishes. Our findings suggest that mothers are not always reliable informants about the risk taking behavior of their young children while they are at school. Children's desires are a good predictor of their actual behavior, and for this reason interventions aiming at the reduction of injuries should be directed not only toward parents and teachers but also to the children themselves.

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