Parents Spend 597 Million Hours A Year ‘waiting’ On Their Children

15 June 2012

On average parents spend an hour and a quarter every week sitting in their cars waiting while children finish sporting, social and recreational events(1)


New research(1) from Sainsbury’s car insurance reveals that parents spend more than two and a half days each year sitting in their cars ‘waiting’ on children to finish sporting and social events.  The average parent that drives children to sporting and social events sits for an hour and a quarter every week waiting for them to finish.

Although almost a third of a million parents spend over five hours waiting for their children each week, which equates to over 10 days a year spent sat in their vehicles, parents report that they really value the opportunity to drive their children to events. This could be because for many, it may be the only opportunity they have to engage without distractions(1).

Around a third (30%) of parents who drive children to events claim it is one of the few opportunities they have to talk to them without being distracted by televisions, iPods and computer games.  Almost one in five (17%) say it is some of the best quality time they spend with their children.  The car can provide a bonding environment for families, with 7% saying that it is the only chance they really have to talk to them(1).

Ben Tyte, Head of Sainsbury’s Car Insurance said: “Parents often claim their children expect them to wait on them hand and foot and our research confirms that for many, this is the case, only they are also waiting behind the wheel for them. Parents devote significant time from their busy lives driving children to events and waiting while they finish.  Far from being a bind however, millions of parents feel they spend valuable time with their children in the car, free from the myriad of electronic distractions in the home.”

On average parents drive 24.7 miles a week taking their children to and from social, sporting and other recreational events.  However, around 955,000 parents (10% of those who drive their children to these events) clock up over 50 miles a week on these journeys.

Number of miles  Percentage of parents who drive their children to social, sporting and recreational events who drive this distance on average every week Number of parents who drive this distance on average every week
Up to 30 miles 78.7% 7,344,000
Between 31 and 50 miles 11.0% 1,031,000
Between 51 and 70 miles  1.6% 148,000
Between 71 and 100 miles 3.7% 343,000
Over 100 miles 5.0% 464,000
Total:  9, 330,000
Source:  Sainsbury’s car insurance

Sainsbury’s Bank has created an online parental taxi calculator(2). It calculates the amount mums and dads around the country would have to spend to hire a taxi to cover the hours, minutes and miles they put in for their kids. Visitors to the new Sainsbury’s Bank’s Facebook page can also view videos of two real life ‘mum and dad cabs’

From a regional point of view, parents in London drive the furthest, covering 36.13 miles a week taking their children to social events. They also spend the longest time (two hours and 52 minutes) waiting in their cars for their children to finish(1).

Location Number of parents who drive their children around(1) Average number of miles driven by parents every week taking their children to social, sporting and recreational events Average time spent by parents every week waiting in their cars for their children to return from social, sporting and recreational events
London 774,000 36.13 2 hours 52 minutes
Scotland 622,000 31.62 1 hour 4 minutes
Eastern 954,000 28.80 1 hour 15 minutes
North East 452,000 26.45 1 hour 22 minutes
Yorkshire & Humberside 822,000 25.18 56 minutes
Wales 575,000 24.86 43 minutes
North West 1,203,000 24.59 1 hour 16 minutes
West Midlands  952,000 23.05 1 hour 30 minutes
South West 772,000 22.20 58 minutes
South East 1,536,000 18.32 47 minutes
East Midlands  670,000 17.25 58 minutes
Britain 9,330,000 24.69 1 hour 14 minutes
Source:  Sainsbury’s car insurance

Sainsbury’s car insurance customers can choose from two policy options, both offering some of the widest range of cover and benefits available in the marketplace. New Sainsbury’s car insurance customers with a Nectar card taking out a policy online could benefit from up to 20% discount on their premium(3). In addition, new customers taking out the supermarket bank’s Premier Cover could also benefit from double Nectar points on all Sainsbury’s shopping in-store, online and in petrol filling stations for two years(4). The saving equates to the equivalent of 1% off their Sainsbury’s purchases in addition to the 1% equivalent reward offered when using their Nectar card in Sainsbury’s. The total combined reward is therefore equivalent to 2% off their Sainsbury’s purchases(4).For example, those spending £49 a week in-store at Sainsbury’s could, over a year, earn up to a week’s free shopping(5).

For further information on Sainsbury’s car insurance, call 0800 092 9459, visit or pick up a leaflet in store.


Notes to editors:

(1) Research commissioned by Sainsbury’s Bank on behalf of its car insurance division. 2,004 GB adults were interviewed by ICM in an online survey between 23rd and 24th February 2012. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.  ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.  Further information at
(2) Sainsbury’s car insurance calculations based on ICM research  and a survey of hackney carriage rates as set by local authorities and averaged out for each region, collected between 20-27th February 2012
(3)  Introductory offer when you obtain a quote online directly from Sainsbury’s Bank up to and including 9th July 2012. Subject to minimum premium. At least 10% of Nectar customers who are Sainsbury’s shoppers will achieve the maximum discount of 20%. Terms and conditions and exclusions apply, see
(4) Customers could earn 2 points on their Nectar card for every £1 spent in Sainsbury’s stores. The Sainsbury’s Bank double Nectar point reward offers an additional 2 points for every £1 spent for two years. Therefore, the total combined reward is the equivalent to 2% off when you shop in-store at Sainsbury’s and swipe your Nectar card at the till. Premier Cover must be renewed at first renewal for double points to continue. Points are not available on a limited range of Sainsbury’s goods and services – see in-store or for details
(5) Week’s free shopping earned by combining base points earned in-store/online and offer bonus points for 2 years when you collect double Nectar points with selected finance products. For example, £49 per weekly spend over a year earned 10,192 Nectar points = £50 approx to redeem in-store. Bonus Nectar points subject to a monthly maximum of 2,500 points per qualifying product type per month.
Sainsbury’s Bank:
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Sainsbury’s was the first major British supermarket to open a bank, commencing trading in February 1997. Benefiting from a fantastic, trusted brand that enables us to combine the shopping experience with personal finance, Sainsbury’s Bank provides a range of quality products including insurances, credit cards, savings and loans. Our proposition is to make shopping more rewarding by offering customers great products at fair prices, while consistently rewarding shoppers for their loyalty and being easy to do business with at all times.  Our products consistently top Best Buy tables and regularly win awards for quality, price and service.

Sainsbury’s Bank recent awards in 2012 include Best Personal Loan Provider, Consumer Moneyfacts; Best Low Rate Credit Card Provider and Best Credit Card Provider for use abroad (Gold Credit Card), Moneynet; Best Loan Provider, Moneysupermarket Supers.

2011 awards include Best Overall Online Provider, Best Online Pet Insurance Provider, Best Online Personal Loan Provider and Best Direct Home Insurance Provider at the Your Money Awards. It was also named Most Competitive Term Assurance Direct Provider by Moneyfacts.

Sainsbury’s Bank is a joint venture between J. Sainsbury plc and Lloyds Banking Group.
For further information and general Sainsbury’s Bank enquiries, customers can call the freephone number on 0500 40 50 60 or visit

Direct Line Insurance Group plc
Direct Line Insurance Group plc (Direct Line Group) is headquartered in Bromley, Kent; it has operations in the UK, Germany and Italy.

Through its number of well known brands Direct Line Group offers a wide range of general insurance products to consumers. These brands include; Direct Line, Churchill and Privilege. It also offers insurance services for third party brands through its Partnerships division. In the commercial sector, its NIG and Direct Line for Business operations provide insurance products for businesses via brokers or direct respectively.

In addition to insurance services, Direct Line Group continues to provide support and reassurance to millions of UK motorists through its Green Flag breakdown recovery service and Tracker stolen vehicle recovery and telematics business.
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