Objective: To determine the effectiveness of a safety education program, Safety City, that is designed to teach kindergarten and first grade children how to cross the street, call 911 in an emergency, and avoid strangers.
Participants/setting: Kindergarten students at 10 urban elementary schools.
Design: Each school was randomized to either the intervention or control group. An evaluation tool was administered to all participants as a pretest. The Safety City program was then presented to the intervention schools. Afterward, the same evaluation tool was used as a post-test. The posttest was administered to the intervention group 6 months after the Safety City program was presented. The control group took the posttest 6 months after the pretest.
Main outcome measure: Change in individual test scores.
Results: One hundred eighty-one children completed the pretest and posttest evaluations. There was no statistical difference in the change between pretest and posttest scores of children who participated in the Safety City program and those in the control group (crossing the street, P = .29; calling 911, P = .41; stranger avoidance, P = .57).
Conclusions: Exposure to the Safety City program did not achieve the desired changes in safety knowledge among participants. This is most likely owing to the fact that Safety City attempts to convey a large amount of relatively complex information to young children in a brief period. We conclude that programs such as Safety City are not sufficient to teach children these behaviors. This report also emphasizes the importance of building an evaluation component into educational programs.