Rental homes more dangerous for children: study

More than 40 per cent of families in the study who lived at rental properties didn't have a way to keep their kids out ...
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More than 40 per cent of families in the study who lived at rental properties didn't have a way to keep their kids out of the driveway.

Home is a dangerous place for toddlers but even more so for families renting their accommodation, new research shows.

Growing Up in New Zealand, a long-term study of about 7000 children, has released a report on the unintentional injuries to toddlers under 2 years old.

Nearly 30 pet cent of families who were renting their homes didn't have working smoke alarms or a fenced-off play area, and more than 40 per cent didn't have a way to keep their children out of the driveway.

On average, five New Zealand children a year are killed in private driveways, according to a 2011 Safekids Aotearoa report.

Growing Up researcher Sarah Berry said nearly seven out of 10 of injuries for the under-2-year-olds happened in a child's own home and the research showed there was significant room for improvement, especially for those living in private rentals.

"It is likely that the number of families who rent, rather than own their home, will continue to increase. A warrant of fitness scheme for rental homes could be one way to encourage property owners to become more aware of household safety needs for young children, particularly with regard to driveway safety and fenced play areas," she said.

Providing safe, affordable and secure housing should be a priority, Berry said.

The most common injury at home for toddlers was a knock to the head, followed by cuts needing treatment, broken bones, injuries to the mouth or teeth, and burns.

Nearly all families reported using a car seat for their under-2-year-old, and most kept matches out of reach and knew what to do if their child drank or ate something poisonous.

BY THE NUMBERS: 

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By the age of 2, 28 per cent of children needed to go to the doctor or a hospital with an injury

69 per cent of the injuries happened at home

38 per cent of the injuries were a knock to the head 

98 per cent use a car seat for their 2-year-old

32 per cent had gates or doors on stairs 

21 per cent did not have working smoke alarms

28 per cent in rental homes did not have smoke alarms

40 per cent didn't have a fully-fenced driveway

 - The Dominion Post

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