Objective: To test the efficacy of installing safety devices in the homes of young children on total injury rates and on injuries deemed a priori modifiable by the installation of these devices.
Design: A nested, prospective, randomized controlled trial.
Setting: Indoor environment of housing units.
Participants: Mothers and their children from birth to 3 years old participating in the Home Observation and Measures of the Environment study. Among 8878 prenatal patients, 1263 (14.2%) were eligible, 413 (32.7%) agreed to participate, and 355 were randomly assigned to the intervention (n = 181) or control (n = 174) groups.
Intervention: Installation of multiple passive measures (eg, stair gates, cabinet locks, and smoke detectors) to reduce exposure to injury hazards. Injury hazards were assessed at home visits by teams of trained research assistants using a validated survey.
Main outcome measure: Modifiable and medically attended injury (ie, telephone calls, office visits, and emergency visits for injury).
Results: The mean age of children at intervention was 6.3 months. Injury hazards were reduced in the intervention homes but not in the control homes at 1 and 2 years (P < .004). There was no difference in the rate for all medically attended injuries in intervention children compared with controls: 14.3 injuries (95% confidence interval [CI], 9.7-21.1 injuries) vs 20.8 injuries (95% CI, 14.4-29.9 injuries) per 100 child-years (P = .17); but there was a significant reduction in the rate of modifiable medically attended injuries in intervention children compared with controls: 2.3 injuries (95% CI, 1.0-5.5 injuries) vs 7.7 injuries (95% CI, 4.2-14.2 injuries) per 100 child-years (P = .03).
Conclusion: An intervention to reduce exposure to hazards in homes led to a 70% reduction in the rate of modifiable medically attended injury.
Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00129324.