UK grandparents putting over 12 million grandchildren at risk by overestimating gas-safety savviness

Gas safety campaigners’ team-up with veteran DJ Tony Blackburn OBE to educate the entire family on how to create grandchild friendly homes

Grandparents are the pillars of wisdom whose decades of experience should make them the very best babysitters. Yet, they may be inadvertently endangering their grandchildren when helping with childcare, by significantly over-estimating how gas safe they are in their homes – according to new Gas Safe Register research1 released today.

The majority (87%) agree that they feel more obliged to ensure their homes are a safe environment, given the caring responsibilities they now have for their grandchildren. Yet, despite nearly half (46%) claiming to be more clued-up on home safety measures than their (now) adult children, when asked to identify the key signs that indicate gas appliances in the home could be faulty or unsafe, less than a fifth (16%) were able to correctly identify all the seven crucial warning signs that could save lives. With nearly nine in ten (86%) UK grandparents providing some form of childcare for their grandchildren during the week, this means that an estimated 12 million grandchildren* could be at risk in homes, vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires and even explosions.

Today, to launch its new campaign, Gas Safe Register - the UK’s official registration body for gas engineers and gas businesses, has teamed-up with veteran DJ and grandfather of two Tony Blackburn, to help the nation’s grandparents (and entire families) be more gas-safety savvy at home this winter, and beyond.

Tony explains: There’s no doubt that we grandparents play a distinct and important role in our grandchildren’s lives – increasingly indispensable when it comes to alleviating childcare costs, as well as being on hand to impart valuable pearls of wisdom and educating them on good music!  

“We’ve experienced more of life and there’s great advantages to that when it comes to being ‘in the know’, but it’s never too late to learn something new, or learn more about something we think we know everything about – particularly when it comes to the safety of our homes and loved ones.

“I'm a stickler for making sure everything is working properly in my house - everything gets serviced and replaced if necessary but I realise I am in the fortunate position to do that, so my one piece of advice? Get clued-up on what the signs and symptoms of unsafe gas appliances can be. It could not only save your life, but those of your grandchildren and loved ones. Being in- the-know on the gas safety basics has never been more important.”

As childcare costs continue to soar, coupled with cost-of-living pressures, more than two thirds (69%) of British grandparents surveyed think their adult children rely on them to watch their grandchildren more than they asked their own parents – saving approximately £6.8billion nationally in childcare costs2.

From books and school-related purchases to toys and video games, new research reveals today that grandparents in the UK spend a whopping £2billion a month on their grandchildren**.

Rob Denman, Head of Professional and Field Services at Gas Safe Register, adds: “Many grandparents play a vital role in the care of their grandchildren, enabling their own children to stay in work and provide for the family. But many are unaware that they could be unwittingly putting their grandchildren at risk of gas related incidents in their home, who have seemingly overestimated their confidence in being able to spot the warning signs of unsafe and faulty gas appliances in the home. What they think they know, and how that plays out in their homes is very different.

Lazy yellow flames on your gas hob or oven instead of crisp blue ones, fault codes appearing on your boiler, pilot lights in your boiler that keep going out, or dark, sooty staining on or around gas appliances – are all signs that something could be wrong. We’re urging grandparents (and families more widely) to get clued-up on the signs and symptoms of unsafe gas this winter – and to have their gas appliances safety checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer – it really is better to be gas safe than sorry and it helps to protect you, your loved ones and your home.”

Tony Blackburn and Gas Safe Register’s golden rules for making your home gas safe:

  1. Ensure all gas appliances are safety checked and serviced annually. The most important thing you can do to protect yourself, your loved ones and your home is to ensure your gas appliances are safety checked, at least annually, by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer. You can find and check an engineer at or call 0800 408 5500.
  2. Learn the six main symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning– headaches, nausea, dizziness, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness and teach them to others. Unsafe gas appliances can put you at risk of CO poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions.
  3. Check gas appliances for warning signs that they are not working properly. lazy yellow flames instead of crisp blue ones, dark, sooty staining on or around the appliance and unusual or unexpected sounds from the gas appliance.
  4. Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm. This will alert you if there is carbon monoxide in your home, as you cannot see, smell or taste CO.
  5. Only use a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer to fit, fix and service your gas appliances. You can find and check an engineer at or call 0800 408 5500. Check their Gas Safe Register ID card when they arrive – and ensure they’re qualified for the work.
  6. Locate your Emergency Control Valve (ECV). In the eventuality you do suspect there is a gas leak or carbon monoxide in your home, find out where your gas Emergency Control Valve (ECV) is located, so you can switch the gas supply off in an emergency.
  7. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, get some fresh air and leave the house as quickly as possible. See a doctor and if you are very unwell call 999 for an ambulance. Call the National Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999 available 24/7.

To find a local Gas Safe registered engineer in your area, and for further gas safety tips this winter and beyond, visit or call 0800 408 5500.

For more information and / or further press enquiries, please contact:

1 Research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Gas Safe Register. OnePoll surveyed 2,000 UK residents who are grandparents and have caring responsibilities for their grandchildren – nationally representative across age, gender and region – between 24th November and 7th December 2023. OnePoll are members of ESOMAR and employ members of the MRS.

* The survey of 2,000 UK grandparents found 86% were providing childcare for grandchildren at least once a week. This percentage was applied to the number of grandparents in the UK (14 million, according to Information Now).

** The survey also found UK grandparents spend an average of £144.98 per month on their grandchildren. This sum was multiplied by the number of grandparents in the UK (14 million, according to Information Now).

2 Source: Information Now.


About Gas Safe Register

Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas businesses who are registered to work safely and legally on boilers, cookers, fires and all other gas appliances. By law all gas engineers must be on the Gas Safe Register. To find a Gas Safe registered engineer visit or call 0800 408 5500.

The Gas Safe Register, gas registration scheme is owned by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and exists to protect the public from unsafe gas work.

Gas Safe Register replaced CORGI as the gas registration body in 2009.