Are they playing safe this summer?

Leeds Safeguarding Children Board - Play Safe

We all want children and young people to enjoy playing out over the summer holidays.
As they get older they may want to start playing out on their own and further away from home, so you may not always be able to see what they are doing. However, there are a number of ways you can help keep them safe.


Safeguarding Children Playing Safe

Be aware of the risks in your local area like derelict buildings, reservoirs and railway lines, as children may be tempted to explore and be unaware of the dangers of these places.


Abandoned buildings and building sites

These can look fun to explore but there are many dangers that can seriously harm children.

Derelict and abandoned buildings are often unsafe with rotten timbers that can’t support weight. The buildings are extremely vulnerable to collapse and can contain large holes that drop down through floors, rusty objects and broken glass, as well as being home to vermin.

Building sites are working areas and are extremely hazardous. They can contain dangerous machinery as well as toxic waste, and chemicals.

It is illegal to enter these properties so children may be breaking the law by playing there.


Reservoirs/ Lakes/ Rivers/ Canals and other open waters

During the school holidays and particularly in hot weather, increasing numbers of children put themselves at risk of drowning from swimming in rivers, lakes, canals or reservoirs.

Safeguarding Children Playing Safe

The water may look safe but it can be dangerous even for a strong swimmer for the following reasons:

  • very cold temperatures
  • hidden currents
  • it is difficult to estimate depth
  • there may be hidden rubbish like shopping trolleys or glass
  • it can be difficult to get out due to steep banks
  • there are no lifeguards
  • water pollution can make you ill.


Railway lines

It is illegal to trespass on railway lines and also very dangerous. Trains travel at great speed and cannot stop quickly.

Research shows that young people are more likely to take a risk on the tracks especially over the summer holidays. Young people have been caught playing on the tracks or crossing them to take a short cut, but this can result in serious life changing injuries.

Only appropriate crossings such as bridges or level crossings should be used to cross railway lines. Make sure you talk to your child about railway safety and the dangers.

Talking to your child about these dangers can help them stay safe when they are out on their own this summer.


Ask your child how they think they can keep themselves safe.

  • Help them learn about their local environment and acquire the skills to help keep themselves safe, e.g. learning to swim, cycle training, road safety.
  • Talk to them about the dangers of being distracted when out and about by music, phones, gadgets etc. and not being able to hear traffic.
  • Ask them about the places they might go, where to avoid and why, and what to do if they’re worried whilst they’re out on their own.
  • Remind them not to climb on barriers and fences as they are there to protect them from serious injury and accidents and obey “Danger” signs.
  • Agree a time they should be home.

We want all children and young people to have a safe summer, please talk to your child about the dangers and help us to keep all Leeds children safe.

Safeguarding Children Playing Safe