Childhood injury prevention advice: a survey of health professionals responses to common scenarios

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Abstract

Aim

To determine the responses of health professionals when asked at what age a child could safely engage in a number of common activities and scenarios.

Methods

Eleven scenarios reflecting everyday activities were adapted from the BBC book Play it Safe. Questionnaires were completed by a convenience sample of health professionals. Respondents were asked to give the minimum age they felt a child could safely engage in each of the activities. The literature was searched for an evidential basis for answers to the activities and scenarios posed.

Results

A total of 215 questionnaires were completed. For all questions there was a spread in responses of at least 9 years. Recommended answers were found in the literature for six of the scenarios, however, in only four of these was this confirmed to have an evidential basis. Fifty-four per cent of responses were at least 2 or more years from these recommended answers.

Discussion

Injury prevention advice needs to be consistent and, where possible, evidentially based. Health professionals often need to rely on their own opinions to provide advice. This survey shows opinions vary and highlights the need for evidence-based guidelines for parents and professionals.

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