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When should children get the 'key to the door'?

One in six parents have come home to find the front door unlocked or had a child lose a key

Rather than waiting until they are 18 or 21 to receive the 'key to the door', today 40 per cent of parents give their children under the age of 18 a set of keys - and  8 per cent of these key-holders are aged under 9 with 18 per cent aged between 9 and 11.

The figures come from a new report from Confused.com who say this poses a potential threat to home security. Indeed, their research shows that one in six parents of the 2,000 surveyed have already come home to find the front door unlocked (which could invalidate their insurance) or had a child lose a key.

Gareth Kloet, Head of Home Insurance at Confused.com said: "Getting the ‘key to the door' at 18 or 21 is a bit of an outdated concept now that some children receive house keys aged 9 or under. While we are not surprised to find that times have changed, we want to emphasise that putting such a young child in charge of home security could be a risk to them and to the safety of the family home and property.

"It is important to have a chat with your child about the responsibility associated with having a key to the family home. We would encourage parents to mention to their children the potential dangers of giving out their address on social media, and also highlight the risks of having an address written on the key fob itself. We would urge parents to remind their children that, should they lose the key to the house, they must tell them immediately as, if this happens, it may be necessary to change the locks.

"We are not here to criticise families and we understand that many parents have to work during school hours, but we do want to remind parents to talk to their children about home security and that accidentally leaving your home unprotected may invalidate your home insurance should you need to make a claim."