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Accid Anal Prev. 2009 Jan;41(1):183-90. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2008.10.009. Epub 2008 Nov 14.

The impact of a home visitation programme on household hazards associated with unintentional childhood injuries: a randomised controlled trial.

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University of South Africa, Institute for Social and Health Sciences, MRC-UNISA Crime, Violence and Injury Lead Programme, Medical Research Council, Tygerberg, South Africa.



The continued high mortality and morbidity rates for unintentional childhood injuries remain a public health concern. This article reports on the influence of a home visitation programme (HVP) on household hazards associated with unintentional childhood injuries in a South African low-income setting.


A randomised controlled trial (n=211 households) was conducted in a South African informal settlement. Community members were recruited and trained as paraprofessional visitors. Four intervention visits were conducted over 3 months, focusing on child development, and the prevention of burn, poison, and fall injuries. The HVP, a multi-component intervention, included educational inputs, provision of safety devices, and an implicit enforcement strategy. The intervention effect (IE) was measured with a standardised risk assessment index that compared post-intervention scores for intervention and control households.


A significant reduction was observed in the hazards associated with electrical and paraffin appliances, as well as in hazards related to poisoning. Non-significant changes were observed for burn safety household practices and fall injury hazards.


This study confirmed that a multi-component HVP effectively reduced household hazards associated with electrical and paraffin appliances and poisoning among children in a low-income South African setting.

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