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Network meta-analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to prevent falls in children under age 5 years
  1. Stephanie Hubbard1,
  2. Nicola Cooper1,
  3. Denise Kendrick2,
  4. Ben Young2,
  5. Persephone M Wynn2,
  6. Zhimin He2,
  7. Philip Miller2,
  8. Felix Achana1,
  9. Alex Sutton1
  1. 1Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
  2. 2Division of Primary Care, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Stephanie Hubbard, Department of Health Sciences, Adrian Building, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK; sjh62{at}


Background This study aimed to simultaneously evaluate the effectiveness of a range of interventions to increase the possession of safety equipment or behaviours to prevent falls in children under 5 years of age in the home.

Methods A recently published systematic review identified studies to be included in a network meta-analysis; an extension of pairwise meta-analysis that enables comparison of all evaluated interventions simultaneously, including comparisons not directly compared in individual studies.

Results 29 primary studies were identified, of which 16 were included in at least 1 of 4 network meta-analyses. For increasing possession of a fitted stair gate, the most intensive intervention (including education, low cost/free home safety equipment, home safety inspection and fitting) was the most likely to be the most effective, with an OR versus usual care of 7.80 (95% CrI 3.08 to 21.3). For reducing possession or use of a baby walker: education only was most likely to be most effective, with an OR versus usual care of 0.48 (95% CrI 0.31 to 0.84). Little difference was found between interventions for possession of window locks (most intensive intervention versus usual care OR=1.56 (95% CrI 0.02 to 89.8)) and for not leaving a child alone on a high surface (education vs usual care OR=0.89 (95% CrI 0.10 to 9.67)). There was insufficient evidence for network meta-analysis for possession and use of bath mats.

Conclusions These results will inform healthcare providers of the most effective components of interventions and can be used in cost-effectiveness analyses.

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