Background The objective of this study was to describe parental perceived factors which may influence the occurrence of unintentional traumatic injuries among children aged 5 to 12 years, in the Colombo district of Sri Lanka.
Methods A community based qualitative study consisting of several Focus Group Discussions (FGD), were conducted, covering four separate areas of the district. The study population was housewives, who were parents of children. Each FGD consisted of 5 participants, a facilitator and a note taker. They were conducted in a private setting within their villages.
Results The study showed that home, schools, playgrounds and roads were the most common injury risk environments according to the parental perception. Risk factors for home injuries were hyperactive children, non-vigilant parents, socio-economic family factors and behaviour of other siblings. Unruly students, inexperienced teachers and unsafe school environment were identified to be the risks at school. Playground conditions and incorrect techniques in sports were causes for playground injuries. Travelling in 2-wheel and 3-wheel vehicles were a risk factor for road accidents. Most parents thought inexperience of children were a main cause for sustaining injuries. Lack of proper parental guidance in carrying out activities put children at risk of injury. Parental awareness of child’s friends, their behaviour and activities were found to be important. Knowledge of first aid in the children and proper implementation of regulations by the authorities were also mentioned as important steps that could minimise the occurrence, and effects of injuries.
Conclusions Parents have a responsibility in the prevention of injuries of their children. They need to teach and train their children to identify injury risks factors and avoid them or act safely. They need to be aware of the child’s friends, their behaviour and must have a close bond with their children to prevent them from injuries.