Meet Sanna, 9 ½ years old
Published: 07 May 2012
Sanna is one of 2 million people in Sweden under the age of 18. Sweden is seen as a good place to grow up. The law makes sure children are well-protected and defends their rights and any organizations work with children's well-being.
In Sweden, it's the law for all children to wear a helmet when cycling. Photo: Lena Granefelt / Imagebank.sweden.se
In 1979, Sweden became the first country to make beating or spanking children a crime. Other important laws say that children under 15 must wear a helmet while riding a bike, and everyone must wear a seat belt in a car, even in the back seat. (Did you know that the three-point seat belt was invented in Sweden?)
Like most children (around 70 percent), Sanna lives with both her parents. Almost a third of all children have a stepfather or stepmother. Around one in four children have roots in another country. Perhaps they have a foreign parent — like Sanna, whose father is English — or maybe they were born abroad. Many of these children have ties with Iraq or the countries of the former Yugoslavia. About 16,000 children in Sweden are adopted from another country.
Sweden uses some of its tax money to make sure children are looked after properly. As with most families, both of Sanna's parents work, but when she was a baby her parents received money from the government while they took turns staying home with her for over a year. If Sanna is sick she can see a doctor free of charge. Visits to the dentist are free until she turns 20. She also gets a proper lunch at school every day.
In Sweden people care about the environment and Sanna helps by recycling cans and bottles. The water is clean, so Sanna and her sisters can go swimming in lakes (even in the center of Stockholm if she wants to) and drink the water from the faucet. She never buys bottled water. Twice a year, she cleans up the neighborhood with friends and family, and afterward, they celebrate with a barbecue.
This feature has been published by the Swedish Institute.