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Managing injury risks for children with disabilities and chronic health conditions: parent perspectives
  1. L Olsen*,
  2. M Brussoni,
  3. A Miller,
  4. M Odonnell
  1. Correspondence University of British Columbia, L408 4480 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC V6H 3V4, Canada

Abstract

Introduction Research indicates a higher risk of injury for children with certain types of disabilities and chronic health conditions. Parents play a large role in mitigating childhood injury risks, yet there has been little research examining how injury risks related to children's disabilities or chronic conditions are perceived and managed by parents.

Purpose To investigate the injury prevention attitudes and practices of parents who have a child with a disability or chronic health condition.

Method Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with parents of children 1–5 years in British Columbia, Canada. Questions addressed parents' safety concerns, use of prevention strategies, impact of children's health challenges on safety efforts, and factors supporting or undermining parents' efforts. Grounded theory methods guided data analysis.

Results Parents of children with a range of disabilities and chronic conditions were interviewed. Some reported concerns and safety strategies specific to certain conditions. For example, concerns related to running away were expressed by parents of children with autism. Other concerns and strategies were uniform across health issues, for example, making arrangements for safe childcare appropriate to children's special needs. Both active supervision and environmental modifications were highlighted as important strategies for injury prevention.

Conclusion These results provide new information regarding injury prevention concerns, experiences and needs of families who have children with disabilities and chronic conditions. Parents' perspectives are invaluable for enhancing practitioner awareness about injury prevention issues and are important to consider in the design of child injury prevention programs.

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