Toddlers’ eating habits cost UK families millions of pounds in damages a year, but what is the real cost to their health?
A SURVEY RELEASED today reveals that the nation’s toddlers regularly have mouths full of mum’s jewellery and chew on family essentials like car keys and cameras – with the average toddler costing mum and dad £60 in damages during their first three years, equating to a shocking nationwide loss of over £14.5 million a year.
Cow & Gate Growing Up Milk, who commissioned the survey to highlight the hard to get nutrients required to support toddler growth and development, found 21 per cent of parents’ bundles of joy caused more damage in the home than the family pet1! With 86 per cent of children spending up to 30 minutes per day1 chewing or sucking on household items like remote controls, which came top of the carnage list of items most commonly damaged1.
In light of additional research reporting that the typical UK toddler is more likely to have eaten a burger than broccoli, the new poll shows that a supper of crayons, keys and toys is commonplace for our little ones.
Released to coincide with Cow & Gate’s new TV advert, the survey also reveals that inquisitive taste buds are not limited to the household, with creepy crawlies also appearing on this unusual menu of toddler fare, with a quarter of children chowing down on between five and fifteen insects, worms and slugs in their first five years1. It’s not just the celebrities participating in Bushtucker Trials it seems!
Whilst “mouthing” is not to be discouraged, Doctor Leanne Olivier, nutritionist and spokesperson for Cow & Gate, comments: “It’s common for little ones to put weird and wacky things in their mouths, from cushions to remote controls, but they won’t find the essential nutrients they need to support their amazing growth there! A healthy balanced diet including just two beakers of Growing Up Milk each day is a simple way to provide little ones with the hard to get nutrition that they need.”
Dr Richard Woolfson, child psychologist for Growing Up Milk, adds: “The results of this survey confirm that “mouthing” is very common amongst toddlers. It’s simply another form of exploration and discovery. Mouthing lets curious and inquisitive toddlers learn about the object’s texture, resistance, taste and structure. That’s why you need to watch closely – your toddler will happily mouth anything they get their hands on, big or small, safe or hazardous.”
Toddler Tasting Tactics – Some bitesize facts:
· The top ten items that toddlers most commonly put in their mouths are: toys (17%), crayons and pencils (16%), remote control (13%), keys (11%), camera, phone and iPod (10%), soft toys (9%), plastic plates and bowls (6%), items of clothing (5%), security blanket (4%) and jewellery (3%)1
· Over a quarter (28%) of toddlers have eaten more than five insects, worms and slugs in their first five years1
· 30 per cent of toddlers mark their territory and display the first signs of ownership by sucking on their beloved security blankets, soft toys and toys1
· More than half of parents (57%) say that their toddler has damaged something in the home as a result of “mouthing” 1
· 7 per cent of frustrated parents state that their toddler frequently causes damage in the home, causing destruction more than four times a month1