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INNOVATIONS IN CHILD INJURY PREVENTION: EVIDENCE-BASED STRATEGIES THAT ADDRESS FIRE SAFETY FOR YOUNG CHILDREN AND PLAYGROUND SAFETY FOR OLDER CHILDREN
  1. B Morrongiello
  1. Psychology Department, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1

    Abstract

    Background Unintentional injury is a leading cause of child mortality, and many of these are preventable events. Innovative approaches that change safety attitudes and/or behaviours are recognised as an important aspect of comprehensive injury prevention programming, especially because some injuries cannot be addressed by implementing modifications to the environment and/or product design.

    Purpose To discuss behavioural research evaluating two child injury prevention strategies that have proven successful: (1) an innovative computer game (The Great Escape) that does not require reading skills and aims to improve young children's (2–5 years) fire safety knowledge and behaviours, and (2) the Cool 2 Be Safe Program, which incorporates four strategies that have been shown to reduce children's risky playground behaviours, into one evidence-based programme that aims to reduce fall-risk behaviours on playgrounds among school-age children (6–12 years) and can successfully be delivered by laypersons in community organisations (eg, schools, daycares) using the training materials provided.

    Methods Two studies will be presented, each using experimental pre–post designs with control groups. Measures assess child knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours.

    Results Both interventions produced significant results, including: (1) increases in young child fire safety knowledge (p<0.05) and behaviours (p<0.05) and (2) positive changes in school-age children's attitudes and risky playground behaviours (p<0.05).

    Significance Developing innovative approaches to attitude/behaviour change that are based on rigorous scientific evaluation is essential to advancing the field of child injury prevention. These two programmes are unique, address important injury issues, and hold promise for reducing the burden of some types of childhood injuries.

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