Objective: To determine the content of injury prevention counseling (an expected component of pediatric anticipatory guidance) and the communication methods used with data from an urban pediatric clinic that serves low-income families.
Design: Audiotapes of well-child visits with 52 pediatric residents were analyzed for 178 children aged 0 to 4 years. A specific coding methodology was developed to analyze counseling by injury topics, prevention strategies, and communication methods.
Results: Less than half (ie, 47%) of the visits included injury prevention counseling. During the 83 visits that included counseling, an average of 1.96 injury topics were discussed. The average time spent on injury topics was 1.08 minutes per visit and 33 seconds per injury topic. An average of 2.68 prevention strategies were mentioned, although a statement specifically recommending their use was made for only 35% of the prevention strategies. The most frequently discussed injury topics were ingestion, falls, and pedestrian safety, house fires and firearms were never discussed. The most frequently mentioned prevention strategies were storing dangerous substances and items out of reach, using cabinet locks, calling the poison-control center, having outlet covers, using stair gates, and using car seats. Information-giving by the resident was the most frequently used communication method. Physician elicitation of information from parents was associated with more parental participation in the discussion.
Conclusions: Pediatric residents in this sample spent little time discussing injury prevention, and problems thought to be important to the specific population being served were never mentioned. Communication methods to enhance compliance other than eliciting and giving information (ie, soliciting feedback, obtaining a commitment, and giving reinforcements) were rarely or never used. Priorities need to be defined so that the most important injury prevention topics and strategies are discussed effectively in the limited time available. Further research about pediatric injury prevention counseling is needed to examine the feasibility and effect of resident training in communication methods that enhance compliance.