Rental homes risky for chil­dren

Auckland City Harbour News - - PUBLIC NOTICES - STAFF RE­PORTER

Chil­dren liv­ing in rental hous­ing are ex­posed to greater safety risks than those whose fam­i­lies own their home, a study has shown.

Auck­land Uni­ver­sity’s Grow­ing up in New Zealand Now We Are Four re­port found pri­vate rental homes have sig­nif­i­cantly fewer home safety fea­tures than fam­ily-owned, or state-owned homes.

The re­search, pub­lished on Fri­day in the Aus­tralian and New Zealand Jour­nal of Pub­lic Health, was based on data col­lected from 6000 fam­i­lies who par­tic­i­pated in the lon­gi­tu­di­nal study.

Lead re­searcher Dr Sarah Berry said New Zealand had a poor record of chil­dren be­ing in­jured from falls, scalds and poi­son­ings in the home.

Un­in­ten­tional in­juries were a lead­ing cause of child­hood hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion and death in New Zealand.

That rate was high­est for un­der 5s, with the most com­mon in­juries re­lat­ing to burns, poi­son­ing and in­ges­tions, Berry said.

About 40 per cent of par­tic­i­pat­ing fam­i­lies were liv­ing in rental homes dur­ing their child’s preschool years.

The study found no as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween so­cioe­co­nomic sta­tus and the num­ber of safety fea­tures present in homes, but Berry said in­equity ‘‘cer­tainly’’ played a role.

‘‘In par­tic­u­lar, fewer of these homes had work­ing smoke alarms and fenced drive­ways.’’

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