Parents' perceptions, attitudes and behaviours towards child safety: a study in 14 European countries

Int J Inj Contr Saf Promot. 2005 Sep;12(3):183-9. doi: 10.1080/17457300500136557.


Injury is the leading cause of death for children 0- 19 years of age in Europe, accounting for 3.1 deaths per 10 000 children per year. The youngest children of the ages 0-4 years require the most protection in this age group, with 2.5 injury-related deaths per 10 000 children in Europe annually. As parents are the primary caregivers of children, it is necessary to learn more about parents' perceptions, attitudes and behaviours towards child safety. This study presents the findings of a 14-country study in Europe on this theme. A quantitative survey of parents of children aged 5 years or under was performed in 14 EU member states in order to enable better targeting of prevention efforts aimed at educating parents. The total sample size was 2088. The results show that 95% of parents reported that they personally take measures to avoid accidental injury to their children. Their top concern with regard to safety of their children was children being hit by a car. The most common response, when asked why some parents find it difficult to protect their children from accidental injury, was not being able to watch their children constantly. Lack of awareness or knowledge about the causes of accidents was the second response. Two-thirds of parents would like to see more help from the government to prevent childhood injuries. Three-quarters of parents agreed that child injuries can be avoided. It was concluded that parents want to be better informed about the causes of child accidents and about actions they and society can take to reduce injury-related risks to children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Europe
  • European Union
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Promotion*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Safety*