Peterborough’s Healthy Playspace Policy Featured at International Conference in Calgary This Weekend

Written by admin, September 14, 2017

September 14, 2017 – Health Promoter from Peterborough Public Health Showcasing Local Efforts to Support Safer and Healthier Outdoor Playspaces

Monique Beneteau, Health Promoter with Peterborough Public Health, will draw global attention this weekend to local efforts to develop a healthy, complete outdoor playspaces at the 20th International Play Association (IPA) Triennial World Conference in Calgary, Alberta.

Ms. Beneteau was invited to share her presentation entitled “Healthy Complete Outdoor Playspaces: A Journey from Problem to Policy” as one of the sessions on September 16 during the sold-out conference.  Her presentation looks at using a public health approach to address Peterborough’s high injury rate from playground equipment falls to support the future development of healthy, complete outdoor playspaces.

“It’s exciting to see this initiative led by Peterborough Public Health in the spotlight on the global stage,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.  “I’m proud of how our partnership with local government and education representatives has resulted in a strategy that will contribute to fewer children hurt on playgrounds here at home.”

Across all age categories and by a wide margin, children in the Peterborough area made more visits to emergency departments in 2011 for injuries from falls from playground equipment than the Ontario rate*.  This data drove Ms. Beneteau to gather evidence on best practices for playground safety.  This evidence helped shape a checklist on playground equipment and safety which incorporated other components of public health interest, such as cancer-preventing features including the amount of shade over equipment and status as a smoke-free environment.

During this process municipal staff expressed their interest in moving the discussion beyond maintaining playground equipment toward creating healthy play “experiences.”  This led to a more extensive review of the evidence, this time focusing on the benefits of play, and how it relates to child development, risky play, risk benefit assessments, and natural playspaces.  This information has been summarized in a technical report which will serve as the foundation for the creation of resources such as guidelines that can be used by our community partners.

Further information about playgrounds and the importance of play can be found at


For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Manager
705-743-1000, ext. 391