Domestic Peril – Train Your Keen Teens To Avoid Household Mishap

19 January 2012

Sainsbury’s Home Insurance is urging homeowners to ensure they’ve provided their children with appropriate domestic coaching and for good measure, consider having accidental damage cover in place. According to new research(1)  from the supermarket bank, 84% of teenagers carry out tasks in the home such as cooking their own meals or doing their own washing and ironing.

But the findings reveal that while performing these activities, more than a quarter (28%) of teenagers have had accidents that caused damage in the home to the value of £36.1 million in the past year alone. Sainsbury’s Home Insurance, which is dubbing this group the ‘indepenteens’, is stressing the importance of ensuring children are trained adequately to execute these tasks in a safe way, without causing damage to the property and risking personal injury(2).

The research shows that one in four 12-17 year olds (25%) cook their own meals in the home, and 17% do their own ironing. Nearly two-thirds of them (64%) clean their own room, and one in five (20%) clean the kitchen or other rooms in the home.

Nearly one in 10 (8%) does their own washing unsupervised, one in three (30%) puts the bins out and 34% feed the family pet themselves. Youngsters are also responsible for looking after their younger brothers and sisters, with 8% babysitting for a younger sibling, 6% cooking for one, and 3% giving them a bath or a shower, or putting them to bed.

Some 7% of people in this age group do their own food shopping unsupervised.

Unfortunately, despite the independence welcomed by most in this age group, accidents can be common among indepenteens, with around 1.78 million having caused some damage to themselves or their parents’ home while carrying out these tasks. 13% of them have burned themselves while cooking and 4% have caused damage to the home by letting the bath spill over. Rain damage to the home has been caused by 4% of indepenteens leaving a window open, and 3% have burned clothes while ironing(2).

Other teens admit to leaving the window open leading to a burglary, and breaking microwaves by cooking food in tins or metallic containers.

Sainsbury’s Home Insurance is encouraging parents to ensure that reasonable care is taken to avoid invalidating their home insurance cover(2).

Ben Tyte, Head of Sainsbury’s Home Insurance said: “With working hours increasing and with some parents taking on second jobs or caring for elderly parents, some children are taking on greater responsibility in the home.  While they may seem up to the challenge, it’s worth making sure they’ve been adequately trained and coached or they could cause damage to the property and risk personal injury.

“Parents should make sure their children are able to deal with household tasks safely, and they should make sure they have adequate home insurance, in particular accidental damage cover, to cover against mishaps that may occur.”

Tasks performed by ‘indepenteens’ (12 – 17 year olds)

Household task Percentage of 12-17 year olds who do this
Clean your own room 64%
Feed the pets in your home 34%
Take the bins out 30%
Cook your own meals 25%
Clean the kitchen in your home 20%
Clean other rooms in your home 20%
Walk the dog (alone) 17%
Do your own ironing (unsupervised) 17%
Clean the bathrooms in your home 13%
Do your own washing (unsupervised) 8%
Babysit / watch a younger sibling (unsupervised) 8%
Do your own food shopping (unsupervised) 7%
Cook for a younger sibling (unsupervised) 6%
Give a younger sibling a bath/shower (unsupervised) 3%
Put a younger sibling to bed (unsupervised) 3%


For more information on Sainsbury’s Home Insurance call0800 731 7978 or visit



For further information, please contact:

Ian Morris / Tom Wilson

Citigate Dewe Rogerson

020 7282 1037 / 2842



Notes to editors:

(1)       Vision Critical interviewed 273 12-17 year olds and 369 18-25 year olds between 7th and 13th November 2011

(2)       Sainsbury’s Home Insurance does not offer personal injury cover. Full details of its Home Insurance policy and including its accidental damage cover are available at


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