Objective: Our goal was to determine if the depiction of injury-prevention practices in children's movies is different from what was reported from 2 earlier studies, which showed infrequent depiction of characters practicing recommended safety behaviors.
Methods: The top-grossing 25 domestic G-rated (general audience) and PG-rated (parental guidance suggested) movies per year for 2003–2007 were included in this study. Movies or scenes were excluded if they were animated, not set in the present day, fantasy, documentary, or not in English. Injury-prevention practices involving motor vehicles, pedestrians, boaters, and bicyclists were recorded for characters with speaking roles.
Results: Sixty-seven (54%) of 125 movies met the inclusion criteria for this study. A total of 958 person-scenes were examined: 524 (55%) depicted children and 434 (45%) adults. Twenty-two person-scenes involved crashes or falls, resulting in 3 injuries and no deaths. Overall, 311 (56%) of 555 motor-vehicle passengers were belted; 73 (35%) of 211 pedestrians used crosswalks; 60 (75%) of 80 boaters wore personal flotation devices; and 8 (25%) of 32 bicyclists wore helmets. In comparison with previous studies, usage of safety belts, crosswalks, personal flotation devices, and bicycle helmets increased significantly.
Conclusions: The entertainment industry has improved the depiction of selected safety practices in G- and PG-rated movies. However, approximately one half of scenes still depict unsafe practices, and the consequences of these behaviors are rarely shown. The industry should continue to improve how it depicts safety practices in children's movies. Parents should highlight the depiction of unsafe behaviors and educate children in following safe practices.
- Accepted August 7, 2009.
- ©2010 American Academy of Pediatrics