Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Validating parents’ self-reports of children’s exposure to potentially toxic substances within the home
  1. B Patel,
  2. B Devalia,
  3. D Kendrick,
  4. L Groom
  1. Division of Primary Care, Tower Building, University Park, Nottingham, UK
  1. Professor D Kendrick, Division of Primary Care, Tower Building, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK; denise.kendrick{at}


Objective: To validate self-reported possession and storage of a range of substances within the home.

Participants: 30 families with children aged 12–35 months on health visitor caseloads in Nottingham, UK.

Methods: Self-reported possession and storage of potentially hazardous substances were validated by observations. Sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values were calculated for possession, storage, and exposure to substances.

Results: Self-reported low exposure to substances had high sensitivities (87–100%) and positive predictive values (75–100%) for all substances, except toilet cleaner (positive predictive value 62%) and high negative predictive values for commonly owned household products. Specificity and negative predictive value could not be estimated reliably for medicines and less commonly owned household products, as few families stored these unsafely.

Conclusions: A measurement of exposure that combines self-reported possession and storage may be sufficiently accurate to identify families with safer poison prevention practices.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests: None.