£308 million worth of toys and equipment from families with children under five years of age, in the last year, according to Halifax Home Insurance.

New research from Halifax Home Insurance reveals that nearly one in four families, with children under the age of five years, have had toys and care equipment, such as buggies, clothes and nappies stolen in the last year. With designer prams retailing for as much as £649.99 and some ‘Wendy houses’ costing over £400, parents often struggle to purchase replacements for their children.

Stolen children's bikes accounted for almost one in five (18 per cent) of all thefts from families with children aged under five. Garden play equipment including paddling pools, swings and slides accounted for 16 per cent of these thefts. Prams and buggies accounted for around one in 10 (8 per cent) of these crimes, often leaving parents struggling to safely transport their child. Callous thieves showed they have no shame, as cuddly toys and stuffed animals accounted for 8 per cent of all thefts.

Over a third (38 per cent) of items were stolen from a garden or yard. Halifax Home Insurance is advising parents to lock away moveable garden toys and play equipment, such as paddling pools and trampolines where possible. If this is not feasible, ensuring gates are secured with durable locks and installing CCTV cameras and security lighting can help deter intruders.

Restaurants proved a fertile ground for unscrupulous thieves stealing children's toys and care equipment. One in ten (10 per cent) of all thefts occurred while parents were enjoying a meal out in public. Increasingly diners and cafes provide safety locks under tables where parents can secure a bag to prevent it being stolen. However, buggies and prams are often left unattended and vulnerable in restaurant lobbies. Parents struggling with buggies and prams on trains and buses also need to keep a watchful eye for criminals, as around one in 10, (9 per cent) thefts took place on public transport.

David Rochester, Head of Underwriting at Halifax Home Insurance, said: “It is shocking that we live in a society where thieves are even prepared to steal from children. Parents are often more concerned with negotiating public transport and crowded supermarkets when out in public than keeping a watchful eye for criminals.”

He continued: “Parents can protect themselves from the financial costs of theft, if not the psychological impact, by investing in comprehensive home insurance cover. These policies can even cover the cost of replacing items taken from their garden or a public place. Parents with young children can ill afford additional expenditure to replace toys when faced with meeting the costs of nursery care, nappies and clothing.”

Author's Bio: 

Ruth is an author of several articles pertaining to Home Insurance. She is known for her expertise on the subject and on other Business and Finance related articles.