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Validation of a parent survey for reporting child injuries


Objective To evaluate the validity of a parent-reported survey to identify children's moderate and serious injuries in seven specific body regions using medical records as the ‘gold standard’.

Methods A prospective validation study was conducted in three urban paediatric emergency departments (EDs). 798 parents of 859 children treated for injuries at participating EDs between August 2010 and July 2011 completed either a telephone interview or self-administered paper survey at 2 weeks post-ED visit. Parents were asked to report child injuries to seven body regions: head, face, neck/spine/back, thorax, abdomen, upper extremities and lower extremities. Injury data were abstracted from medical records using a standardised protocol. Body region injury severity levels of none/minor, moderate or serious were assigned to each subject based on the Abbreviated Injury Scale.

Results The overall sensitivity, reflecting parents’ ability to identify a documented moderate or greater severity injury, was 0.95 (95% CI 0.92 to 0.97). Sensitivities were >0.90 for the face, upper extremity and lower extremity regions; 0.80–0.90 for head, abdomen and neck/back/spine regions; and <0.60 for the thorax region. The overall sensitivity for identification of a serious injury was 0.71 (0.60 to 0.80).

Conclusions This survey enables parents to accurately identify moderate and greater severity injuries to body regions, though it does not accurately identify serious injuries in most body regions except the extremities. The survey could serve as a screening tool to identify moderate and greater severity injuries in population-based surveillance systems, or as the primary outcome of interest in injury prevention studies.

  • Injury Diagnosis

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