Save, make, understand money


Parents suffering from ‘Pupil Party Pressure’

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Two fifths (40 per cent) of parents have experienced feeling obligated to invite their child’s entire class to a party.

Parents across the UK are spending £2.1bn a year on birthday parties for their children, with each party at home costing an average of £252, according to Churchill Home Insurance.

A study by the insurer found that for nearly a third (29 per cent) of parents it is even official school policy that every child in the class is invited. But while this can be beneficial from a social perspective, it can also put a great deal of financial strain on parents.

One in five (20 per cent) parents have spent upwards of £350 making sure their child had the best birthday party.

In the past 12 months alone, parents have hosted an estimated 8.2 million parties in their own homes or the homes of family members for their children, collectively spending a total of £2.1bn – or £5.7m every day.

Unexpected bills

The cost of parties isn’t just balloons and bunting, as parents are frequently facing unexpected bills to repair damage caused by the number of children in one place. Nearly half (46 per cent) have had to repair something in their home because of the party, setting them back on average £238 per party.

The most common items damaged during parties at home are outdoor play equipment (45 per cent) and outdoor furniture (42 per cent). More than a third of parents have experienced damage to carpets or flooring (37 per cent) and electrical appliances (36 per cent), while more than a quarter (28 per cent) have had to fix or replace windows and doors.

Craig Rixon, head of Churchill Home Insurance, said: “It’s interesting to see just how much pressure parents feel when it comes to throwing birthday parties for their children and the large bills they face when having to invite 20 to 30 children. In many cases, they do not have the space at home, so it is not surprising that damage is being caused to their home and its contents.

“While parents can’t plan for potential accidental damage it is worth checking their home insurance policy to find out what they are covered for, to help save paying out additional cash.”

Accidents and injuries

Unfortunately, children themselves can often get injured while at parties. Over the past five years, about 3.4 million parents of children under 10 said their child has been injured at another child’s party and in more than a third (34 per cent) of those cases the injury was serious enough that it resulted in a trip to A&E or to the GP.

The most common causes of injury for children at parties are slipping and falling (45 per cent), fighting with another child (45 per cent) and falling off, or when playing, on a bouncy castle or inflatable (38 per cent). Eating and drinking related injuries like choking or allergies account for nearly two fifths (38 per cent) of accidents, as do paddling pool or swimming related incidents (37 per cent).

In circumstances where a child was injured in their home, two fifths (41 per cent) of parents hosting the event said they had been threatened with legal action by the parents. A further one in seven (14 per cent) refused to let their child return to the property following an injury. Surprisingly, despite having children themselves, just one in seven parents (14 per cent) completely understood that it wasn’t anyone’s fault and accidents do happen.

“Liability cases can cost thousands, sometimes even tens of thousands, of pounds, adding strain to an already extremely stressful situation if a child has been injured,” said Rixon, “No parent wants to stop their child having a birthday party because they are worried something might happen, but a quick check of your home insurance policy will help you see if you are covered for personal liability to cover the costs just in case anyone makes a claim against you for being injured while in your home.”