Objectives: The effects of a computer kiosk intervention on parents' child safety seat, smoke alarm, and poison storage knowledge and behaviors were evaluated in a pediatric emergency department serving predominantly low-income, urban families. The effects of parent anxiety and the reason for the child's emergency department visit also were examined.
Methods: A randomized, controlled trial of a Safety in Seconds program with a 2- to 4-week follow-up interview was conducted with 759 parents of young children (4-66 months of age). The intervention group received a personalized report containing tailored, stage-based safety messages based on the precaution adoption process model. The control group received a report on other child health topics.
Results: The intervention group had significantly higher smoke alarm, poison storage, and total safety knowledge scores. The intervention group was more likely to report correct child safety seat use. Neither parent anxiety nor the reason for the emergency department visit was related to the safety behaviors. Virtually all (93%) intervention parents read at least some of the report; 57% read it all, and 68% discussed it with others. Lower-income intervention parents who read all of the report and discussed it with others were more likely than control parents to practice safe poison storage. Higher-income intervention parents were more likely than control parents to report correct child safety seat use.
Conclusions: These results bode well for widespread applicability of computer technology to patient education in busy emergency departments and other child health care settings. Reducing financial barriers to certain safety behaviors should continue to be a high priority.