A new survey by NCT has found that 57% of UK parents at home on maternity or paternity leave are turning their heating down or switching it off because of concerns about the rising cost of energy bills.
As a result 70% of those parents are concerned for the health of their baby or toddler.
66% of parents surveyed said that the rising cost of energy meant they had been under pressure to cut back on other essentials, rising to 77% among single parents. 85% of those under pressure to cut back on something said they had considered cutting back on food to pay for energy bills.
62% of parents generally reported feeling under pressure to cut back on energy due to the cost of bills. Overall 58% of all parents surveyed listed energy bills among their top two financial concerns.
NCT, the UK’s largest parent charity, commissioned the survey as part of Cold Homes Week to help raise awareness of the impact of rising energy prices on parents with young children.
NCT’s CEO, Belinda Phipps said:
“Our research shows that parents are having to choose between buying food or keeping their babies and toddlers warm to protect their health.
“Parents with young children are often at home during the winter and coping with energy bills can be a struggle, especially if they are on a tight budget.
“NCT wants to see parents with children under five, and living in poverty, automatically qualify for the Warm Homes Discount Scheme. The government rightly helps pensioners in this way, and we need the parity for parents at home with young children who are at risk of fuel poverty.”
Recent research on the effects that a cold home can have on babies and young children suggests that long term exposure to cold homes can affect weight gain, increase hospital admission rates and increase the severity and frequency of asthmatic symptoms.
A list of NCT top tips for keeping your baby warm can be found on the NCT website and is listed below. A copy of the Early Parenthood Survey is available on request.
Other findings include:
• 79% of 18-24 year old parents with young children said they are worried they may have to cut back on essentials to meet the cost of rising energy bills
About the survey:
Survation interviewed 1,006 parents of children aged three and under in the United Kingdom, from 24th - 28th January 2014, on behalf of the NCT. Survation is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. A full copy of the report, Early Parenthood Survey, is available on request. More information can be found on the Survation website.
Our top 10 tips to keep your fuel bill down and your baby comfortable.