Welcome to the world: findings from an emergency medical services pediatric injury prevention program

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2007 Nov;23(11):790-5. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e318159ffd9.


Background: Unintentional injuries are the most common cause of morbidity and mortality in young children, and most injuries occur in the home.

Objectives: To report findings from a primary prevention program that trained paramedics to conduct home safety surveys, provide family safety education, and identify common pediatric injury risks in the home.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed standardized records from each survey, abstracting information on family demographics, safety devices and practices, and provision of educational materials and safety equipment. We descriptively analyzed and reported statistics as means and percent frequencies.

Results: Two-hundred sixty-two families participated and had children averaging 21 months of age. Ninety-eight percent (250/255) had a smoke detector, and 65% (140/215) had a fire extinguisher, with 77% (192/250) and 76% (107/140) of these respective devices functional. Twenty-seven percent (55/202) had a fire evacuation plan, and 33% (18/55) reported ever practicing their plan. For bathwater sites, 56% had temperatures measured less than 120 degrees F. Eighty-five percent (218/257) had medications, and 53% (134/249) had household chemicals out of reach of children, but most reported storage in an unlocked location. Eighty-five percent (42/49) reported storing guns unloaded, and 45% (22/49) stored all guns in locked locations. Paramedics distributed 63 smoke detectors, 46 fire extinguisher vouchers, 234 first-aid kits, and 225 educational packets.

Conclusions: Participating families had high rates of fire/burn hazards and unsafe storage practices. Paramedics can recognize common hazards in the home, can provide education and mitigation to reduce risks of pediatric injury, and can distribute home safety devices in a community injury prevention program.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Home / prevention & control*
  • Adolescent
  • Allied Health Personnel
  • Burns / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Female
  • Firearms
  • Fires / prevention & control
  • Health Education / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • North Carolina
  • Poisoning / prevention & control
  • Primary Prevention / organization & administration*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Safety Management
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control*