Objective: To present the results of an intervention trial to enhance parents' home-safety practices through pediatric safety counseling, home visits, and an on-site children's safety center where parents receive personalized education and can purchase reduced-cost products.
Design: Pediatricians were randomized to a standard- or an enhanced-intervention group. Parents of their patients were enrolled when the patient was 6 months or younger and observed until 12 to 18 months of age.
Setting: A hospital-based pediatric resident continuity clinic that serves families living in low-income, inner-city neighborhoods.
Participants: First- and second-year pediatric residents and their patient-parent dyads.
Interventions: Parents in the standard-intervention group received safety counseling and referral to the children's safety center from their pediatrician. Parents in the enhanced-intervention group received the standard services plus a home-safety visit by a community health worker.
Outcomes: Home observers assessed the following safety practices: reduction of hot-water temperature, poison storage, and presence of smoke alarms, safety gates for stairs, and ipecac syrup.
Results: The prevalence of safety practices ranged from 11% of parents who stored poisons safely to 82% who had a working smoke alarm. No significant differences in safety practices were found between study groups. However, families who visited the children's safety center compared with those who did not had a significantly greater number of safety practices (34% vs 17% had > or 3).
Conclusions: Home visiting was not effective in improving parents' safety practices. Counseling coupled with convenient access to reduced-cost products appears to be an effective strategy for promoting children's home safety.