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Where do children usually play? A qualitative study of parents’ perceptions of influences on children’s active free-play

This study explored the perceptions of 78 parents from low, mid and high socio-economic areas in Melbourne, Australia to increase understanding of where children play and why. Using an ecological model interviews with parents revealed that safety and social factors emerged as key social themes, facilities at parks and playgrounds, and urban design factors emerged as important physical environment themes. The children’s level of independence and attitudes to active free-play were considered to be important individual level influences on active free-play. The study findings have important implications for future urban planning and children’s opportunities for active free-play.