Introduction: This study was conducted at a level II Pediatric Trauma Center to assess the perceptions, safety behaviors, and learning needs of parents who brought their children to the emergency department.
Methods: Surveys were distributed in the emergency department, and 412 parents/caretakers responded. A descriptive design provided the framework for data analysis.
Results: A profile of caretakers of children in three age groups (1 to 4, 5 to 12, and 13 to 15 years) emerged. Whereas most parents and older children knew how to call 911, only half of the parents knew child CPR. Parents tended to underestimate their children's risks for motor vehicle-related and immersion injuries and were more concerned about kidnapping and assault. Less than half of the parents believed that most injuries can be prevented. Learning needs were indicated by 34% of parents, and CPR was mentioned most frequently. Parents' desires for learning tended to focus on care after injuries happened.
Discussion: Health professionals need to spend more time teaching parents about the link between child development and risks for injury, to emphasize prevention. Interventions based on study results include the hospital Safety Helmet Discharge Plan.