Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Novice Parents Overlook Many Child-injury Risks

Date:
August 10, 2009
Source:
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Summary:
Researchers report that new parents identified less than half of the safety hazards in a simulated home environment, and most perceived that their children were less vulnerable to injuries than other children.

Researchers report that new parents identified less than half of the safety hazards in a simulated home environment, and most perceived that their children were less vulnerable to injuries than other children.
Credit: iStockphoto/Renee Lee

University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Psychology researchers report that new parents identified less than half of the safety hazards in a simulated home environment, and most perceived that their children were less vulnerable to injuries than other children.

The findings will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention. UAB doctoral student Joanna Gaines, M.A., is the lead author of the study, and UAB pediatric psychologist David Schwebel, Ph.D., is its co-author.

The study found that parents recognized only 47 percent of the safety hazards placed inside a home setting.

“While there were no benchmarks to assess whether this is a good or bad rate of recognition, it is concerning if it approximates behavior in real homes,” the authors said. “One would hope that parents might recognize all or almost all of the safety hazards present. If they don’t recognize hazards, they cannot act for prevention, thus placing their children at risk of serious injury.”

Surprisingly, when asked to identify hazards they considered dangerous for their own children, the parents identified only 40 percent of the hazards. The study’s authors said that after the test, many of the parents made statements such as “My child isn’t curious about the toilet,” or “My child knows not to play with matches.” The results suggest that parents tend to perceive their children as being somewhat invulnerable or smarter, safer or developmentally more advanced than other children, Gaines said.

Home InjuriesUnintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for toddlers in the United States, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC). In fact, the NCIPC reports that more than 1,300 1- and 2-year-old American children died from accidental injuries in 2005.

The Study

Researchers tested 94 individuals, including 44 parents whose oldest child was 12-36 months, 30 day-care workers and 20 health-care professionals. A living room and a typical toddler’s bedroom were created in the laboratory to simulate a home environment. For a third room, they used an existing bathroom with a working sink, shower and toilet. In each room, the researchers placed items that were safety hazards for young children such as prescription medication, shower cleaner, a pair of scissors, overloaded electrical outlets and marbles.

Each participant was asked to place stickers on all items in the three rooms that they believed would be a hazard to children ages 12-36 months. Researchers also asked the parents to complete a second task to identify hazards they believed would be dangerous for their own toddlers. The order the two tasks performed was alternated randomly.

The parents answered questions about their level of education, knowledge of CPR, attendance at parenting classes and the number of hours each week spent reading parenting magazines.

The study found that formal education was not related to hazard recognition, Gaines said. Parents with fewer years of education recognized safety hazards just as well as parents with more education. But the study also found that more hazards were identified by adults with more parent-related education, which suggests these classes and magazine articles focused on injury prevention may benefit child safety.

The parents, however, recognized more hazards than the professionals who worked with children daily, the study authors said. The health professionals recognized only 29 percent of the hazards, and the day-care workers recognized 37 percent. Some explanations may include the fact that parents spend more time with toddlers than day-care employees and parents have more invested in safeguarding their own children. In addition, parents have more experience watching children in a home environment than most child-care professionals.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alabama at Birmingham. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Novice Parents Overlook Many Child-injury Risks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090804190501.htm>.
University of Alabama at Birmingham. (2009, August 10). Novice Parents Overlook Many Child-injury Risks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090804190501.htm
University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Novice Parents Overlook Many Child-injury Risks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090804190501.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins