Keeping Children Safe: a multicentre programme of research to increase the evidence base for preventing unintentional injuries in the home in the under-fives

Kendrick D, Ablewhite J, Achana F, Benford P, Clacy R, Coffey F, et al. Keeping Children Safe: a multicentre programme of research to increase the evidence base for preventing unintentional injuries in the home in the under-fives. Programme Grants Appl Res 2017;5(14)

Burns, scalds, falls and poisoning are major causes of death, disability and health service use in the under-fives. We undertook 13 studies to explore factors associated with injuries, what prevents injuries, the cost of the injuries to the NHS and parents, and what parents and children’s centres (which provide families with information, support and co-ordinated services from a range of professionals) were doing to prevent injuries.

We used evidence from these studies to design a resource [an injury prevention briefing (IPB)] for children’s centres to use with parents for preventing house fire injuries. We gave 12 children’s centres the IPB, with training and support to implement it, (IPB+ group) and 12 centres the IPB without training or support (IPB-only group). A further 12 centres were not given the IPB (usual-care group). Children’s centres in both IPB groups used the IPB and increased injury prevention activity, more markedly in the IPB+ centres. The IPB did not increase how many families had a fire escape plan in either IPB group, but did increase some fire escape behaviours in both groups. Providing the IPB without training and support cost less and was slightly more effective than not providing the IPB. Providing the IPB with training and support cost more but was only slightly more effective than not providing the IPB. Children’s centres can increase some fire safety behaviours in families with young children if they are provided with evidence-based resources such as the IPB. A further IPB has been produced for the prevention of fire-related injuries, falls, poisonings and scalds.

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