Does targeting injury prevention towards families in disadvantaged areas reduce inequalities in safety practices?

Health Educ Res. 2009 Feb;24(1):32-41. doi: 10.1093/her/cym083. Epub 2008 Jan 17.


Inequalities in childhood injury and safety practices exist, but there is little evidence that targeted interventions can reduce such inequalities. This study examines the effect of a home safety intervention on reducing inequalities in safety practices using a secondary analysis of data from a randomized controlled trial. Families with children <5 years from disadvantaged areas were randomized to receive a standardized health visitor safety consultation and free or low-cost safety equipment fitted in the home or to usual care. The impact of the intervention in terms of stair gate use and functioning smoke alarms was compared by ethnic group, maternal age, housing tenure, family type and receipt of state-provided means-tested benefits at 1-year follow-up. Marked inequalities were found for both safety practices by each socio-economic characteristic prior to the intervention. The intervention significantly reduced inequalities in stair gate use by housing tenure (P = 0.006) and receipt of benefits (P = 0.04), but did not reduce inequalities in functioning smoke alarms. We conclude that a home safety intervention targeted at deprived areas addressing the barriers of cost and needing help to fit equipment was only partially successful in reducing inequalities in safety practices. Other strategies will be required to reduce inequalities especially in relation to functioning smoke alarms.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention / methods
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Family*
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Age
  • Poverty Areas*
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Safety*
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control*