Home Visitors' Beliefs and Practices Regarding Childhood Injury Prevention

Authors

  • Lara K. Pratt M.P.H.,

    1. Lara K. Pratt, M.P.H., is with the University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
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  • Carol W. Runyan M.P.H., Ph.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Carol W. Runyan, M.P.H., Ph.D., is with the University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
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  • Lisa R. Cohen Sc.M., Dr.P.H.,

    1. Lisa R. Cohen, Sc.M., Dr.P.H., is with the University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
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  • Peter A. Margolis M.D., Ph.D.

    1. Peter A. Margolis, M.D., Ph.D., is with the Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
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Address correspondence to Carol Runyan, M.P.H., Ph.D., Injury Prevention Research Center, 204 Chase Hall, CB# 7505, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. NC 27599-7505.

Abstract

Abstract Injuries are the leading cause of death for children under age 19. Prevention efforts focus on eliminating hazards or changing individuals' behavior. Few interventions address psychosocial factors that contribute to injuries. Home visiting programs target families' functioning and help parents overcome barriers that inhibit their readiness and ability to address injury prevention. This study, a telephone interview with 87 public health nurses and social workers, assessed home visitors' preparedness to address childhood injury prevention, their practices and factors influencing their ability to undertake injury prevention activities. Results showed that 41% of home visitors talked to parents about injury prevention during visits. To identify hazards, most visitors (81%) assessed the home environment as they did other things: 51% never used a home safety checklist. Most home visitors discussed hot water temperature (82%). smoke detectors (76%), and firearms (50%). To respond to hazards, most relied on verbal education. Other priorities and time constraints were major barriers to injury prevention activities. Home visitors' beliefs in the importance of injury prevention and willingness to implement strategies suggest that home visiting can be an effective delivery strategy for injury prevention. It is imporatant to consider how to include, in a systematic manner, injury prevention in home visitor training.

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