BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:
Unintentional childhood injury is a major public health problem associated with significant mortality. In Gloucestershire there have been a number of fatal accidents among children related to heavy furniture, blind cords, and diaper bags as well as potentially harmful practices such as cosleeping. Over the last few decades, UK injury prevention programs have halved the number of childhood accidental deaths. There is evidence that community-based campaigns bring about positive behavioral change and can reduce the number of injuries necessitating medical attention. The objective was to explore carer awareness of 4 specific hazards (diaper bags, cord blinds, cosleeping, and heavy furniture) linked to pediatric deaths in the region through the use of questionnaires and a standardized educational poster display.
A standardized safety awareness poster board was designed with approved charity leaflets, supported by local council funding. Six hundred poster packs were distributed to public centers across the county. A service evaluation questionnaire was offered to carers or parents of children attending the Children’s Center of Gloucestershire Royal Hospital during Child Safety Week. It explored their current safety practices and their thoughts on the usefulness and impact of the poster campaign. The survey was approved by the Trust Research Board and did not need ethical approval.
We obtained 103 questionnaire responses over 5 days, 96% of which were from parents. Almost a quarter of respondents were unaware of accidental deaths relating to diaper bags, although most (82%) kept them out of children’s reach. Of the 57 respondents who had cord blinds at home, 26% did not have a safety device attached. Despite prominent national campaigns discouraging cosleeping, 42% of all respondents stated they had slept in the same bed as their children when they were <1 year old. Two-thirds (67%) of respondents reported having secure fixtures in place in their home. Many parents stated they were aware of the hazards highlighted (average 1–10 scale rating, 8.2), and had found the campaign useful (average 1–10 scale rating, 7.3). However, carers perceived the potential to alter current practices as negligible (average 1–10 scale rating, 5.3).
A poster campaign highlighting hazards implicated in local deaths is deemed useful by parents, but the perceived impact of changing home safety practices is negligible. Additional work through the use of focus groups and parental communication is needed to identify how best to promote safety practices for future campaigns.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics