Video messaging: what works to persuade mothers to supervise young children more closely in order to reduce injury risk?

Soc Sci Med. 2009 Mar;68(6):1030-7. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.12.019. Epub 2009 Jan 21.


Recent research reveals that supervision can be a protective factor for childhood injury. Parents who closely supervise young children at home have children who experience fewer injuries. What is not known, however, is what messaging approaches (e.g., injury statistics, graphic images of injured children, personal testimonials by parents) are best to persuade parents to supervise more closely. Using video as the medium, the present focus group study of urban Canadian mothers explored their reactions to different formats and messages in order to: identify best practices to convince mothers that childhood injury prevention is important; determine how best to communicate messages about supervision to mothers; and identify what the nature and scope of these messages should be for motivating and empowering mothers to supervise closely. Results suggest that those who become aware of the scope of childhood injuries are motivated to pay attention to messaging about supervision, that such messages must be delivered with care so that parents do not feel guilty or blamed for acknowledging they could more closely supervise than they already are, that certain messages are not useful for encouraging closer supervision, and that both the content and presentation characteristics (images, accompanying sound) of messages are important determinants of effectiveness for motivating mothers to supervise more closely. Implications for developing interventions that effectively communicate information about child-injury risk and supervision to mothers are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention
  • Adult
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers*
  • Parenting
  • Videotape Recording*
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control*