The children that time forgot: Reframing housing standards to incorporate children's needs
Milner, J. (2003) The children that time forgot: Reframing housing standards to incorporate children's needs. In: Healthy Housing: Promoting Good Health Conference, Warwick University, UK.
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This paper presents the findings from a recent study funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation examining the housing and neighbourhood needs of 44 visually impaired children. Our research found that disabled people’s needs have been too narrowly based on ‘accessibility’ criteria, which do not take into account the health and safety issues so important for children. Indeed, the home environment is the main site of accidental death or injury for young children under 4 years, and children from low income families are particularly susceptible to burns, scalds, falls, swallowing foreign objects or poisonous substances within it (CRDU 1994). As disabled children are statistically more likely to be in low income families, this places them at high risk. If ‘accessibility’ is to be reconceived as design for usability throughout the lifecourse, this challenges us to move beyond the pragmatic but limited application of design prescriptions for disabled people as a separate and adult group, and to re-think all of the dimensions of the housing quality framework in the light of this expanded approach.