Do parents value drowning prevention information at discharge from the emergency department?

Ann Emerg Med. 2001 Apr;37(4):382-5. doi: 10.1067/mem.2001.114091.


Study objective: We determined parent recall and perceived usefulness of drowning prevention messages included in routine computer-generated discharge instructions.

Methods: All pediatric emergency department patients' computerized discharge instructions included 3 prevention messages: wear a life vest, swim in safe areas, and do not drink alcohol while swimming or boating. Parents were telephoned 1 to 2 weeks after the visit and asked to recall the prevention messages and rate the usefulness of the instructions. Responses were linked with patient characteristics and ED visit variables (day and time of visit, duration of ED visit, severity of condition, diagnostic category, number of tests, and treatments).

Results: Of 914 parents who were contacted, 795 were eligible. Of those, 619 (78%) completed the interview. Fifty percent of parents recalled receiving drowning prevention information; of these, 41% recalled unaided the life vest messages and 35% of 155 parents who did not own a life vest stated they would subsequently consider buying their child a life vest. Most (88%) rated the prevention information useful or very useful. No patient or visit variables were associated with usefulness ratings.

Conclusion: Written injury prevention messages with discharge instructions were well received by parents of children in a pediatric ED. The ED may be a setting where families could receive injury prevention education.

MeSH terms

  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Drowning / prevention & control*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Mental Recall
  • Parents / education*
  • Patient Discharge
  • Primary Prevention*