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Independent mobility important to children's well-being and development

Children’s independent mobility – or the freedom of children to get about in their local neighbourhood without adult supervision – has been shown to be important to their wellbeing and development. Loss of independent mobility has adverse effects on children’s well-being and development. That is the main message of the latest Essential Evidence article by Dr. Adrian Davis. 

The potential benefits of greater levels of independent mobility include greater level of physical activity among children. Studies also document the importance of children’s independent mobility in facilitating higher levels of outside-play and social interaction leading to higher levels of sociability and improved mental wellbeing. There are also wider community benefits such as closer neighbourhood relations, a stronger sense of community, and less fear of crime. Reduced likelihood of feelings of loneliness during adolescence is a further outcome cited.  Enabling independent mobility would also seem to be an important element of delivering the rights of children to rest, leisure and play set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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Photo by Alain Rouiller - Barcelona Parc San Marti 19Uploaded by russavia, CC BY-SA 2.0 

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