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Clumsy children cost parents £5K


By Mark Stillman

The average child inflicts £5,000 of damage on UK households by the time they hit 18, according to a new report.

This amounts to a total of £3.55 billion nationwide, said the True Cost of a Child report published on Friday by MORE TH>N.

Spilling food and drink on the carpets heads a top 10 table released by the insurance company.

It reveals the true extent of havoc children will cause households before they reach adulthood - in addition to the usual money spent on raising a child, such as food, clothing and pocket money.

Trail of ruin at home

From stained floors and paint-splattered walls to broken valuables and shattered beds, Britain's children will leave an average £5,000 trail of ruin at home, from the ages of three to 18.

Nearly two in three families (63 per cent) suffer from offspring spilling food and drink on the carpets.

The next most common damage caused at home by children is the smashing of plates and crockery (35 per cent) and drawing and painting on the walls (33 per cent).

Then comes broken vases, pictures and photo frames (24 per cent) and ripped wallpaper (22 per cent) in fourth and fifth place respectively.

Jumping on beds until they break (15 per cent) is the sixth biggest child home hazard, followed by smashing windows playing sports in the garden (10 per cent)

Damaging the TV playing computer games (9 per cent), placing food and drink in electrical items (7 per cent) and hiding valuables in the washing machine (6.6 per cent) complete the top 10.

Three-year olds most destructive

It seems that the troublesome threes are even more destructive than the terrible twos, the research suggests.

No child is more damaging around the home than a three-year-old, with terror toddlers causing household devastation seven times in a single year, amounting to £526, the report found.

The study also underlines how after the age of 10, rates of household ruin gradually drop until children become young adults and reach 16.

At this stage the harm they create starts to increase once more, totalling £310 million across the country at the age of 18.

This damage is mainly the result of children throwing house parties and leaving a wake of devastation behind them, dismayed parents claim.

Costs of raising a child

London children appear to be the most destructive, causing an average of £387 damage each.

Janet Connor, Managing Director for MORE TH>N, commented: "From clothing to education, the costs of raising a child are well known.

"However, rarely is a figure put on the amount of damage that children can inflict on the home.

"For the first time, our research shows just how extensive and expensive it can be.

"Whether you have restless, wall-wrecking toddlers or party-loving teenagers it's important to have appropriate cover for your home to make sure you're covered for all sorts of eventualities."

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