When Do You Give Your Child a Key?

It’s funny, but growing up I don’t remember having a set of keys till I was around sixteen years old – maybe even later.  To be honest there was never a need for it.  My mum usually bought me home or was in when I needed letting in and I never really stayed out late.  But today according to a survey from home insurance experts at Confused.com kids are no longer have to wait so long to get the keys to the front door.  Whilst traditionally kids have had to wait until reaching milestone birthdays of 18 and 21 to receive ‘the key to the door’, today 40% of parents are giving children under the age of 18 a set of keys to their home. More surprisingly, 8% of these key-holders were under 9 years of age, and 18% were just 9-11 years old.

Giving young children keys to the house has been identified by Confused.com as one of the potential threats to home security that families may be overlooking. According to the findings, one in six parents (16%) have already come home to find the front door unlocked or had a child lose a key, highlighting just how risky entrusting keys to their kids can be.

Our experts are urging parents to educate their children about home security before giving them keys to the family home, and reminding them that leaving the door unlocked by accident could invalidate their insurance if they are burgled as a result.

In the survey of 2,000 parents (with children aged 18 or under), Confused.com discovered:

  • 8% of kids who have keys to their parents’ home are under 9, and this figure rises to 18% when it comes to 9-11s.
  • More than a third (37%) of parents are worried that their kids will take the car without permission if they leave the car keys in the house, and more than one in ten (13%) parents say their children have already done this.
  • 64% of parents are worried that their child will forget to lock the door or lose their house key, and this has already happened to 16% of parents.
  • 55% of parents are worried that their son/daughter will tell people when they are going on holiday and 15% of kids have already made this mistake, according to their parents.
  • 48% of parents are worried that their kids will share their address online and 16% of parents say their kids have already done this.
  • More than half of parents (51%) are worried that their child will have a party while they are away and for 16% of these, this has already happened.
  • Tiredness, busy lives and ‘baby-brain’ has caused more than a quarter of new mums (27%) to lock themselves in or out of their own home and almost a third (29%) of new mums have left the door or windows unlocked or open.
  • Getting the ‘key to the door’ at 18 or 21 is now very out-dated as 40% of parents of under 18s have already given keys to their kids.
  • More than 1 in 10 parents (14%) have left their child or children at home alone overnight or to go on holiday.

Gareth Kloet, Head of Home Insurance at Confused.com said:

“Getting the ‘key to the door’ at 18 or 21 is a bit of an out-dated concept now that some children receive house keys aged 9 or under. While we are not surprised to find that times have changed, we want to emphasise that putting such a young child in charge of home security could be a risk to them and to the safety of the family home and property.

“It is important to have a chat with your child about the responsibility associated with having a key to the family home. We would encourage parents to mention to their children the potential dangers of giving out their address on social media, and also highlight the risks of having an address written on the key fob itself. We would urge parents to remind their children that, should they lose the key to the house, they must tell them immediately as, if this happens, it may be necessary to change the locks.

“We are not here to criticise families as each has their own circumstance, and we understand that many parents have to work during school hours, but we do want to remind parents to talk to their children about home security and that accidentally leaving your home unprotected may invalidate your home insurance should you need to make a claim.”

I guess from my point of view I can’t see Miss Roo needing a key to the front door for a few years yet but I’d never want her  not to be able to get into the house and it would probably something we would think about once she starts middle school and might have to  come home for study time during exams.

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Disclaimer: This is a press release  from Confused.com. This post has been posted in accordance to the terms of my PR Guidelines. The views expressed in it are my own and the article cannot be reproduced without prior permission.  Interested in getting a review, competition or guest post for your product? Contact me 

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