Self-Reported Usage of Safety Equipment Provided Through a Community Partnership Approach to Injury Prevention in the Pediatric Emergency Department

Academic Article


  • Objectives Previous studies have shown that educational programs in conjunction with provision of free or low-cost safety equipment increases the likelihood of parents changing behaviors at home. This project surveyed caregivers in the pediatric emergency department (ED) about safety behaviors before and after provision of education and safety equipment related to medication storage, firearm storage, and drowning. Methods A convenience sample of families presenting to the ED for any complaint with a child of any age were approached for participation in this feasibility study. Exclusion criteria included patients presenting for a high acuity problem (Emergency Severity Index 1 or 2) and non-English-speaking caregivers. Enrollment, surveys, and educational intervention were performed by the graduate student investigator from the School of Public Health. Participants were surveyed regarding presence of firearms and medications within the home and their storage practices. Additional questions included relationship to the patient, number and age of children younger than 18 years in the home, and zip code of residence. Educational handouts were reviewed, and participants were provided with a medication lock box, trigger lock, toilet lock, and/or pool watcher tag as indicated by answers given to the survey questions. Process measures were collected for number of products given out, number of children potentially affected by the intervention, and time spent by the investigator. Follow-up calls assessed use of the products provided. Results The student investigator spent a total of 180 hours and enrolled 357 caregivers accounting for 843 children. Fifty-seven percent of the participants answered the follow-up phone call. Only 9% initially reported that they stored medications in a locked or latched place. Medication lock boxes were given to 316 participants. On follow-up, 88% of those who received a lock box reported using it to store medications and 86% reported satisfaction with the lock box and how it worked. Of the 161 participants who admitted to gun ownership, 45% reported storing their guns locked and unloaded. Of those who reported unsafe manners of gun storage, 96% also reported unsafe manners of medication storage. Although only 161 participants endorsed gun ownership, 236 participants took a gun lock when offered. At follow-up, 66% of participants had used the gun lock and 67% of participants who took the gun lock reported satisfaction with the device. For water safety, 195 toilet latches and 275 drowning prevention lanyards were provided. On follow-up, 48% of those who had received a toilet latch were using it and 62% reported satisfaction with the device. Data were not collected on use of or satisfaction with the drowning prevention lanyards. Conclusions Families often report unsafe home storage of medications and firearms, which together account for a large amount of morbidity and mortality in pediatrics. Drowning risk for young children is ubiquitous in the home setting, and low rates of use of home safety devices indicates need for further education and outreach on making the home environment safe. Despite relying on self-reported behaviors and the risk of reporting bias skewing the data, the behaviors reported in the preintervention survey were still very unsafe, suggesting that children may have a much higher risk of injury in the actual home environments. The ED is traditionally thought of as a place to receive care when injuries happen, but any encounter with families should be seen as an opportunity for injury prevention messaging. Partnering with a local school of public health and other community resources can result in the establishment of a low-cost, consistent, and effective injury prevention program in the pediatric ED that reaches a large number of individuals without the added burden of additional tasks that take time away from already busy ED providers and staff.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Webb AC; Jorge EA; Omairi I; Nichols MH; Monroe KW
  • Start Page

  • E1391
  • End Page

  • E1395
  • Volume

  • 38
  • Issue

  • 7