Beware the terrors lurking in your home. You may think that when you lock the door behind you, you're keeping the threats out, but new figures have revealed that there's a good chance that you're actually locking in a major threat to your home and property: your children.
Each child, they say, causes an average of £5,000 damage to their parents' home in their childhoods.
The research, from MoreTh>n, calculated that the danger age is three-years-old, when a typical child will do £526 of damage.
The most common forms of destruction are:1. Spilling food and drink on the carpets (63%)
2. Smashing plates and crockery (35%)
3. Drawing and painting on the walls (33%)
4. Breaking vases, pictures and photo frames (24%)
5. Tearing wallpaper from the walls (22%)
6. Jumping on beds until they break (15%)
7. Breaking windows playing sports in the garden (10%)
8. Damaging the TV playing computer games (9%)
9. Putting food and drink in electrical objects (7%)
10. Hiding valuables in the washing machine (6.6%)
Any parent will recognise the potential for disaster here: when an unattended crayon can lead to a requirement to repaint the lounge, or where a glass of blackcurrant squash can become a permanent addition to the dining room carpet.
And while there are some things you can do to toddler-proof your home, it's fair to say that some of these acts of destruction defy even the most toddler-proofed abode. You can avoid becoming one of the 7% of people who will turn their back for a second and discover a piece of toast jammed into the DVD player, by moving the player out of reach. Likewise you can put away every vase, picture and photo frame until they are a bit older. But how exactly do you prevent them from jumping on the bed? Or tearing the wallpaper?
Once you are out of the toddler years you may think you're home free, but think again. It's true that after the age of 10, levels of household ruin gradually fall until children become young adults and reach 16. However, at this point the damage they inflict begins to rise once again, totalling £310 million across the nation at the age of 18. By far the biggest risk for children in this age bracket comes from house parties.
It seems like there's very little we can do but clean up, repair, and redecorate once they've moved out.