- One in ten parents of disabled children said they did not feel their child was safe using the inaccessible equipment 
- One in ten parents said their disabled child hurt themselves because of inaccessible equipment 
Scope calls on the Government to set up a fund to make sure all children can use playgrounds.
To coincide with Child Safety Week – from the 6th to the 12th of June 2022 - the disability equality charity Scope is releasing research which shows that many parents and carers do not feel their disabled child is safe using playgrounds with inaccessible equipment, with some parents saying their child had been hurt because of equipment not being suited to their needs.
The survey of 1,000 parents and carers of disabled children, found that many children are being denied fun, friendship and development opportunities, leaving many families isolated and excluded.
Lorna Fillingham is mum of 12-year-old Emily-May who has a rare genetic condition. She is non-verbal and a wheelchair user.
“There is so little equipment that Emily-May can use, that we use it until we can’t anymore.
“We used to put her in the toddler swings until she was 6 or 7, as often there was no other equipment that she could use. It meant that she had to be in the little kids’ area, where the equipment wasn’t the right size and might not have held her weight, and she couldn’t interact with kids her age. But that was all she could go on.
“When there isn’t wheelchair friendly equipment, I have to physically lift her on and off basket swings and such, which can be difficult. I’m worried about hurting myself or dropping her.
“I know that one day I won't be able to physically lift her anymore and then there will be no play options in so many parks, and that is heart-breaking as she deserves to be able to play too.”
Emma Vogelmann, Lead Policy Adviser at disability equality charity Scope, said:
“The fact that some parents do not feel their disabled child is safe in playgrounds is extremely alarming.
“Many playgrounds aren’t designed with disabled children in mind. For example, many have woodchip or sand floors which may be difficult for children with wheelchairs or walkers, and concrete floors are dangerous for children who are prone to falling.
“Every child has an equal right to play. Yet many disabled children can’t enjoy their local playground because the equipment isn’t designed for them. It leaves disabled children shut out and missing childhood experiences.
“That’s why we’re calling on government to create an Inclusive Playground Fund so that councils can work with disabled children and their families to design playgrounds that work for them.”
Another parent anonymously told Scope:
“There is very little that is inclusive for physically or visually disabled children even in the playgrounds that are supposed to be accessible.
“Simple measures like tactile flooring would help my blind daughter know where the danger zone around the swings is and would be useful and of benefit to all children.
“It would also be useful to have high contrast colours on climbing frame bars, and not yellow which are particularly difficult to see in sunlight and foot holds that are not slippery, so she has a fighting chance to climb up despite her cerebral palsy.”
The findings mark the launch of Scope’s new campaign ‘Let’s Play Fair’ which demands that every child has an equal right to play. Scope is calling on the government to create an inclusive playground fund.
This investment would see more local parks offer accessible equipment such as swings, paving that keeps children safe and, engaging sensory equipment. Simple changes that will make more playgrounds fun, safe and open to all children.
Notes to Editor
We're Scope, the disability equality charity in England and Wales. We provide practical information and emotional support when it's most needed.
We campaign relentlessly to create a fairer society. You can help children have an equal right to play by supporting our Let’s Play Fair campaign and donating to Scope at www.scope.org.uk.
Let’s Play Fair is a new campaign from the charity Scope that aims to make sure that leisure and play spaces are more inclusive, giving disabled children and their families more choice and control over how and when they engage with them.
Sign our open letter calling on the Government to make play fair for disabled children.
 11 per cent
 11 per cent
 Opinium polling of 1,000 parents and carers of disabled children aged 12 or below in England and Wales. Fieldwork 25-31 March 2022.