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What do parents believe about children's developmental milestones and the preventability of injuries?
  1. A Gielen*,
  2. E McDonald,
  3. W Shields,
  4. L McKenzie
  1. Correspondence John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Injury Research and Policy, 624 N. Broadway Baltimore, MD 21205, USA


Purpose For young children, developmental capabilities influence their injury risk, often because their motor skills are more advanced than their ability to recognise and respond to hazards. This study explores the extent to which parents are knowledgeable about developmental milestones and whether this knowledge is related to their injury prevention beliefs.

Methods Parents with children (<5years) were recruited in an inner city paediatric emergency department (N=453). Ten items from the Revised Denver Prescreening Development Questionnaire were used to ask parents at what age they thought the average child could accomplish milestones (eg, roll over, reach for items). Three items assessed parent's beliefs about preventing children's injuries (eg, the best way to prevent injuries is to teach your child to mind you).

Results Among this sample of predominantly African American, low income families, a majority thought children would be older than the standardised norm when they could reach for items (72%) and feed themselves (67%). Two thirds thought children could walk up steps without help earlier than the norm. One third of parents thought that children would be older when they can pull themselves up to stand. One third thought children could follow instructions earlier than the norm. Bivariate and multi-variate analyses to adjust for child age and mothers education will examine the relationship between knowledge of developmental milestones and preventability beliefs.

Conclusions Because young children depend on their parents to protect them from hazards, their inaccurate knowledge of children's developmental capabilities can unnecessarily put children at increased injury risk.

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