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BMJ. 2005 Jan 22;330(7484):178. Epub 2004 Dec 16.

Providing child safety equipment to prevent injuries: randomised controlled trial.

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  • 1Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, School of Nursing, University of Nottingham, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2HA. michael.watson@nottingham.ac.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the effectiveness of safety advice and safety equipment in reducing unintentional injuries for families with children aged under 5 years and living in deprived areas.

DESIGN:

Randomised controlled trial.

SETTING:

47 general practices in Nottingham.

PARTICIPANTS:

3428 families with children under 5.

INTERVENTION:

A standardised safety consultation and provision of free and fitted stair gates, fire guards, smoke alarms, cupboard locks, and window locks.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Primary outcome measures were whether a child in the family had at least one injury that required medical attendance and rates of attendance in primary and secondary care and of hospital admission for injury over a two year period. Secondary outcome measures included possession of safety equipment and safety practices.

RESULTS:

No significant difference was found in the proportion of families in which a child had a medically attended injury (odds ratio 1.14, 95% confidence interval 0.98 to 1.50) or in the rates of attendance in secondary care (incidence rate ratio 1.02, 0.90 to 1.13) or admission to hospital (1.02, 0.70 to 1.48). However, children in the intervention arm had a significantly higher attendance rate for injuries in primary care (1.37, 1.11 to 1.70, P = 0.003). At both one and two years' follow up, families in the intervention arm were significantly more likely to have a range of safety practices, but absolute differences in the percentages were relatively small.

CONCLUSIONS:

The intervention resulted in significant improvements in safety practices for up to two years but did not reduce injuries that necessitated medical attendance. Although equipment was provided and fitted free of charge, the observed changes in safety practices may not have been large enough to affect injury rates.

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