Unintentional Injuries in Children Up to Six Years of Age and Related Parental Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors in Italy

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Abstract

Objectives

To describe risk factors associated with unintentional injuries among children aged <6 years and to examine parents' level of knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors about pediatric injuries and related preventive measures.

Study design

A cross-sectional survey was conducted between May and July 2015 on a random sample of 794 parents of 3- to 6-year-old children through a self-administered anonymous questionnaire.

Results

A total of 409 parents participated. Two-thirds of the children had experienced at least 1 unintentional injury in the previous 12 months. More than one-half of these children were boys. The leading cause was falls; the injuries occurred mainly at home, and only 9.2% were brought for attention to an emergency department. Parents who did not believe that it is possible to prevent unintentional injuries were more likely to have had a child injured. Approximately 70% of respondents were aware of security measures to prevent pediatric injuries, and this knowledge was more prevalent in older parents and in those with at least a college level of education compared with those with a middle school education. The perceived utility of education about preventive measures of pediatric injuries had a mean value of 8.9 on a Likert scale of 1-10 (1, not useful, to 10, very useful) and was significantly higher in mothers.

Conclusions

This study highlights a clear need for public health educational programs for parents regarding prevention of unintentional injuries in children as a valuable tool to increase safety and injury prevention and to reduce risks, because the majority of such injuries occur at home.

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