Young children's use of blue spaces and the impact on their health, development and environmental awareness: A qualitative study from parents' perspectives

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2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Issue Addressed: This study examined how families with young children access and use different types of blue spaces and the health and development benefits, and potential negative effects.

Methods: Parents(n = 25) of young children across four coastal communities in Western Australia were recruited via purposive sampling to participate in interviews. A generic qualitative study design grounded in the pragmatism paradigm was utilised.

Results: Beaches were the most frequently used blue space for families all year around, however families did not necessarily attend their closest beach. This appears due to certain beach features making them more or less attractive for use regardless of the distance from home. Parents perceived blue spaces as health promoting due to the increased physical activity children did in and around these spaces. They also reported blue spaces could be positive for child development, contributing to the development of identity. Blue spaces were also perceived to promote children's environmental awareness and environmentally friendly behaviours. However, blue spaces could also be potentially risky environments for families with young children. 

Conclusions: The findings highlight blue spaces are an important setting for supporting children's health, development and environmental consciousness. 

So What?: It is important to protect natural outdoor environments such as blue spaces for future generations. The findings can be used by governments and policy makers to improve the quality (features and amenities) of blue spaces and positively impact how often families (including those with dogs) use blue spaces and the benefits they experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Volume35
Issue number1
Early online date28 Feb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

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