Validation of a home safety questionnaire used in a series of case-control studies

Inj Prev. 2014 Oct;20(5):336-42. doi: 10.1136/injuryprev-2013-041006. Epub 2014 Mar 3.


Objective: To measure the validity of safety behaviours, safety equipment use and hazards reported on a questionnaire by parents/carers with children aged under 5 years participating in a series of home safety case-control studies.

Methods: The questionnaire measured safety behaviours, safety equipment use and hazards being used as exposures in five case-control studies. Responses to questions were compared with observations made during a home visit. The researchers making observations were blind to questionnaire responses.

Results: In total, 162 families participated in the study. Overall agreement between reported and observed values of the safety practices ranged from 48.5% to 97.3%. Only 3 safety practices (stair gate at the top of stairs, stair gate at the bottom of stairs, stairs are carpeted) had substantial agreement based on the κ statistic (k=0.65, 0.72, 0.74, respectively). Sensitivity was high (≥70%) for 19 of the 30 safety practices, and specificity was high (≥70%) for 20 of the 30 practices. Overall for 24 safety practices, a higher proportion of respondents over-reported than under-reported safe practice (negative predictive value>positive predictive value). For six safety practices, a higher proportion of respondents under-reported than over-reported safe practice (negative predictive value<positive predictive value).

Conclusions: This study found that the validity of self-reports varied with safety practice. Questions with a high specificity will be useful for practitioners for identifying households who may benefit from home safety interventions and will be useful for researchers as measures of exposures or outcomes.

Keywords: Methodology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention / instrumentation
  • Accident Prevention / standards*
  • Accidents, Home / prevention & control*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child, Preschool
  • England
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data
  • Safety*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*