Rental homes risky for children
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.’’