A risk is the possibility of a hazard’s potential being realised. A balanced approach to risk management is basically weighing up the benefits against the chances of harm and the severity of such harm. In schools risk assessments are necessary to note any hazards which could cause harm and are therefore a potential risk. Risk assessments need to be carried out in a way which minimises the risk but is also practical. There is a need for children to be exposed to acceptable risk as this enhances their resilience, allows them to develop and learn, it influences their perception of themselves and most importantly allows them fun and excitement. If children are allowed to become risk competent they acquire confidence in tackling new challenges and overcoming failure. By showing a balanced approach to risk management you have to be prepared to way up the pros and cons of each situation differently.
You cannot be averse to risk but need to be sensible in the risk involved. Is it an unacceptable risk or an acceptable risk? Unacceptable risks are risks that children may not have the competency to deal with due to their aptitude, ability level and age appropriateness. Acceptable risks allow children to develop and learn without coming to any serious harm. Most young children are able to identify between safe and unsafe but depending on the age, gender or ability of the child their perception may be different. Boys tend to be more impulsive than girls and less aware of the severity of injuries which could result from taking risks. In a case like this it would be necessary to educate all children but particularly the males as they tend to have higher activity levels and are less likely to ask for help. It is difficult for younger children to identify hazards and contemplate the risks involved and as a result of this they tend to have a slower reaction time.
On the other hand older children sometimes feel they are invincible and are less likely to come to any serious harm. Ability is something that needs to be considered whilst taking a balanced approach to risk management. Something that may be suitable for a child may not be suitable for one who has limited ability. For example a child who may be hearing impaired may not hear a warning of oncoming traffic. Children on with a ASD normally have poor hazard awareness and as a result their risk management would be different to that of a neurotypical child.