Supervision of children aged two through six years

Inj Control Saf Promot. 2002 Jun;9(2):121-6. doi: 10.1076/icsp.


Manufacturers of household products--including appliances, exercise equipment, and even some children's toys--expect consumers to supervise their children to prevent product-related injuries. This approach to hazard prevention places the burden of safety on parents and caretakers. This study examined actual supervision practices of parents of children between the ages of two and six years. 59 parents, aged 31 to 40 years, residing in Montgomery County, Maryland, completed a 24-item self-administered questionnaire, consisting of multiple choice and open-ended questions. Nearly all respondents reported that there are times when their children are in a different room from them. When the children are out of sight, parents reported checking on their children periodically, with increasingly longer periods between observations, as the child gets older. Nearly half of the children got out of bed in the morning always or often before a parent. Ninety-five percent of parents perceived that their child was at no risk or slight risk of injury when getting up in the morning before them. In conclusion, it can be said that many parents supervise their children by being close-by and on-hand as needed, rather than being directly involved in the child's activities. Manufacturers are encouraged to employ passive measures and sound designs, rather than rely on close parental supervision for injury prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention
  • Accidents, Home
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Consumer Product Safety*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Parenting*
  • Play and Playthings
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control*