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Traffic Inj Prev. 2008 Jun;9(2):129-34. doi: 10.1080/15389580701775843.

Parents' knowledge and attitudes about preventing injuries in motor vehicle accidents in children in Greece.

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Department of Pediatrics, Aghlaia Kyriakou Children's Hospital, Athens, Greece.



The aim of this study was to record parents' knowledge and perceptions about the adoption of the appropriate preventive measures in order to avoid serious injury or death of children (as passengers, pedestrians, or bicyclists) in case of motor vehicle accidents.


A total of 1000 parents of children, aged 0-14 years old, served as the basis for this study; 854 were parents of students in kindergartens, elementary schools and high schools from both public and private sectors, and 146 were parents of children who visited the outpatient clinic of the Paediatric Department of three major hospitals in Athens, Greece, for various reasons, except for accidents, from Sept. 1, 2004, to Aug. 31, 2005. All participants answered an anonymous questionnaire structured for the needs of this study.


Over forty-one percent (41.4%) of the participants believed that they were not sufficiently informed about preventing childhood injuries in car accidents, while 80.4% insisted that children under 12 years old comprehended the concepts of collision, distance, speed, and signals of traffic policemen. Parents' information came from the media (65.6%), brochures (43%), posters (9.4%), and health care professionals (14.2%). Child seats, seat belts, and helmets were not used uniformly (76.1%, 61.8%, and 7.4%, respectively), while the majority of parents (88.4%) positioned their children in the back seat of the vehicle. The results arising from the statistical analysis (p = 0.05) showed that parents' information about preventing childhood injuries in car accidents was associated with mother's age (p = 0.07), father's (p = 0.042) and mother's educational level (p = 0.003), as well as with father's profession (p = 0.031). An association was also found between parents' information about preventing injuries in car accidents and children having been in an accident in the past as passengers (p = 0.042) or bicyclists (p = 0.011).


The adoption of harsh measures for preventing the devastating consequences of car accidents in children is of high importance. Parents' rigorous education must become our priority. Health care professionals need to act dynamically in sensitizing Greek parents.

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