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Information and Support Needs among Parents of Young Children in a Region of Canada: A Cross-Sectional Survey

Authors

  • Maureen Devolin R.N., B.Sc.N., M.Ed.,

    Corresponding author
    • Sexual and Reproductive Health, Health Promotion, Disease and Injury Prevention, Population and Public Health, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, Alberta
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  • Dawn Phelps R.N., B.Sc.N.,

    1. Early Childhood, Health Promotion, Disease and Injury Prevention, Population and Public Health, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, Alberta
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  • Tara Duhaney M.H.Sc.,

    1. Sexual and Reproductive Health, Health Promotion, Disease and Injury Prevention, Population and Public Health, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, Alberta
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  • Karen Benzies R.N., Ph.D.,

    1. Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta
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  • Clare Hildebrandt M.Sc.,

    1. Decision Support Strategies, Public Health Innovation and Decision Support, Surveillance and Health Assessment, Population and Public Health, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, Alberta
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  • Shivani Rikhy B.Sc.H., M.P.H.,

    1. Alberta Children's Hospital, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, Alberta
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  • Jocelyn Churchill R.N., M.N.

    1. Best Beginning, Healthy Moms/Healthy Babies, and Antenatal Community Care Program, Public Health, Calgary Zone, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, Alberta
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Correspondence to:

Maureen Devolin, 10101 Southport Road SW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T3E 6N7. E-mail: Maureen.devolin@albertahealthservices.ca

Abstract

Objective

To determine the information and support needs among parents of young children in a region of Canada.

Design and Sample

A cross-sectional survey was mailed to a stratified random sample of 1,064 parents of children aged 6 years and under. Of the 359 respondents, the majority were Caucasian, female, married, and well educated.

Measures

An investigator designed questionnaire measured preferred sources of parenting information and support, sources and modes of program delivery, and perceived barriers to accessing information and programs.

Results

Breastfeeding, car seat safety, caring for a new baby, supporting their child's development, and sleep issues were considered “somewhat” or “very” important by 95.8% of respondents. Informal sources of support were rated as more important and more valuable than formal supports. The internet, drop-in programs for parents and children, books, organized play groups, classes and information sessions were identified as the most preferred modes to access parenting information. Respondents reported a lack of knowledge and awareness of programs, lack of time, lack of child care, and inconvenient scheduling as the top barriers to accessing information and programs.

Conclusions

Parents want information to support their parenting. These results have implications for planning and implementation of future parenting information and support programs and services.

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