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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 109

Date:- 26 July 2003

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UNDERSTANDING OF CHILD SAFETY IS BADLY INFORMED

AN Independent survey highlights illogical and dangerous attitudes among parents in the North West. The survay that was commissioned by Kidde Safety Europe. The report surveyed 500 parents of children under 12 years of age living at home.

Child abduction dominates parents' fears for their children in the North West, despite the much bigger dangers that are found closer to home, according to a new survey. In the North West, an estimated 69 people died in house fires in 2001, and almost 3,000 people were injured. 

Parents are risking the lives of their families by showing insufficient interest in other kinds of child safety. In particular, the study reveals a shocking ignorance among parents towards the real risks of fire in the family home. A child is eight times more likely to burn to death in a house fire than be killed by an abductor.

The independent report, commissioned by Kidde Safety, reveals an especially worrying fact that only 3 per cent of North West parents questioned in the survey believe that fire in their home is at all likely. The reality is that in 2001 there were over 10,000 fires in dwellings in the North West, including Greater Manchester and Merseyside.

The risk of a serious fire breaking out in the home is underestimated by many parents. There is widespread confusion among those surveyed: 84 per cent of North West parents fail to realise that there is 1 in 300 chance of a serious fire occurring in the home. A staggering 14 per cent believe that the likelihood is as low as 1 in 3 million!

However, some parents do have the right idea. Gillian, a 35-year-old cleaner from Wigan and mother of two children aged 9 and 7, who was interviewed by the researchers, said:- "When the kids got TVs and videos in their rooms we added extra alarms above the equipment."

Jan Walsh, the report's author, said:- "The findings reflect some worrying attitudes towards fire safety held by parents in the North West. Complacency is the biggest threat to child safety and it's important that we raise awareness of fire safety through reports such as this."

The report emphasised the need to provide advice to parents. Kevin Bishop of Kidde Safety said:- "We are committed to giving comprehensive advice on fire safety and it's clear that parents have yet to grasp the reality that fire kills and the chances of an incident in your home is far higher than parents believe."

Key facts from the survey:-

· When talking about their greatest fears for their children, 3% of parents in the North West say they worry about fire in the home. However 60% of parents worry about abduction, despite the risk of fire being much greater.

· 23% of family homes in the North West have fewer than the recommended number of smoke alarms. 

· For 78% of people in the North West family photographs would be the things they would be saddest to lose in the event of a fire. The second greatest loss for North Westerners would be their computer (3%).

Southport Reporter is a registered Trade Mark.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2003.