Recognition of home injury risks by novice parents of toddlers

Academic Article


  • Objective: Unintentional injury in the home is a leading cause of death for toddlers. The majority of injuries occur at home; parents play a significant role in injury prevention. Health-related behavior change theory suggests that behavior change is only possible if individuals (a) recognize the problem, and (b) believe they are vulnerable. This study examined these characteristics among novice parents of toddlers by investigating how well parents recognize hazards in the home and whether they believe their toddlers are vulnerable to those hazards. Methods: Three types of participants were recruited: novice parents of toddlers ages 12-36 months, daycare employees, and pediatric healthcare workers. All participants were examined three rooms simulating a typical toddler's bedroom, a living room, and a bathroom. Participants marked any hazards they recognized with stickers. Parents completed the hazard identification task twice, once identifying hazards for all toddlers and another time identifying hazards for their child. Results: Participants identified less than half the hazards present in the simulated rooms; parents identified more hazards than comparison groups. Parents identified significantly fewer hazards for their own child than they identified for other children. Discussion: Although parents identified more hazards than the professionals, they failed to identify a large portion of hazards and they perceived their own children to have less vulnerability than toddlers more broadly. Results indicate that education about toddler's vulnerability to injury in the home, as well as instructing parents about what situations are hazardous, might be considered during development of toddler home injury prevention programs. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Gaines J; Schwebel DC
  • Start Page

  • 1070
  • End Page

  • 1074
  • Volume

  • 41
  • Issue

  • 5