Health benefits of children’s participation in physical activity such as reduced risk of obesity and diabetes are promoted to parents. However parents’ perceptions of injury risk in sports and how this perception may affect their choice of sport for their child is unknown. The study surveyed 5385 parents of children from 5 – 17 years in 46 sports. A total of 887 surveys were returned. The Health Belief model was the theoretical framework for the study and the sports were divided into four groups – contact, incidental collision, limited contact and non-contact. Mothers completed the forms in 63% of cases and 52.2% of the children were males. The child selected the sport in 51.6% of` cases and generally parents did not believe that their involvement in their child’s sport choice would ensure their child was safer from injury. In the main parents did not believe the sport their child participated in was less likely to cause injury than other sports and this trend increased as the level of contact increased. Trained coaches were seen as very important in reducing injury risk in sport. Generally modified sport was not seen to positively impact on the parent’s choice of sport and parents did not think that cost of protective equipment was a barrier to providing for their child. Parents generally felt that they could assess the risk of injury in a sport but were not influenced by the risk of injury when allowing their child to play a particular sport.
Children’s activity choices and patterns of activity in the after-school-hours period (between the end of school and dinner) can be important predictors of daily activity levels The Out of School Hours Sports Program (OSHSP) is a state-wide physical activity initiative that provides structured sporting experiences for children in formal out-of-school-hours care (OSHC) involving 17 State Sporting Associations (SSAs) and 70 OSHC services. Participants in the evaluation were 86 children (27 girls and 59 boys) and 86 parents, and 20 deliverers of the OSHSP at various OSHC services. The average age of the children was 7.7 years (SD = 1.6). Measures included surveys, focus groups, semi-structured interviews, and document analysis. The OSHSP initiative was evaluated over three years on four levels: reactions of the deliverers, advances in skills and knowledge, attitudes of the deliverers, and success of the initiatives against program objectives. The evaluation suggested that deliverers remained concerned about the requirements of delivering the initiative. Often deliverers did not modify their current practices to match the objectives of the OSHSP, possibly due to a clash between deliverer beliefs and program objectives. The children were having fun (97.5%) and learning new skills (89%). Most participants (76.7%) indicated an intention to continue their participation in the sport being delivered at the OSHSP into club sport participation. Children in the OSHSP were generally very active, with most (88%) already participating in sport outside the OSHSP suggesting that the target population may be difficult to access.