Pilot Testing of a Burn Prevention Teaching Tool for Amish Children

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Burn prevention education for Amish children is warranted as there are unique risks associated with the Amish lifestyle. Specific educational opportunities are related to scalds, ignition of clothing, and ignition of highly flammable materials. A culturally sensitive burn prevention teaching tool, consisting of a magnetic storyboard, burn safety curriculum, and tests, was developed with the cooperation of one Old Order Amish community. The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of the tool in an Amish school. The teacher obtained parental permission and informed assent for the participation of the children. Pretesting was completed before the lessons began. The teacher told stories and arranged the magnets on the storyboard to show burn hazards involving lighters, stoves, kerosene heaters, gasoline-powered engines, and hot liquids used for canning, butchering, mopping, washing clothes, and making lye soap. The children were challenged to rearrange the pieces for a safer situation. Posttesting was performed 2 months after the pretest. Twenty-seven students (grades 1–8) participated. Tests were scored as a percentage of the 33 items answered correctly. The mean pretest score was 62 and the mean posttest score was 83. Statistical analysis using paired t-test demonstrated a highly significant improvement in test scores (P < .0001), with a power of more than 99%. This pilot study demonstrated that the burn prevention teaching tool was effective for improving knowledge in one classroom of Amish children. These results support expanded use and testing of this tool in other Amish schools.

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