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176 Teachable moments
  1. Peter Spitzer1,
  2. Holger Till1,2
  1. 1Center for Childhood Accident Research and Injury Prevention, Graz, Austria
  2. 2Medical University of Graz, Department of Ped. Surgery, Austria


Background Every year more than 12,000 children aged 0 to 14 visit the Graz Department of Paediatrics Emergency Room after an accident. Additionally, more than 5,000 babies are delivered at the Department of Obstetrics – both departments are located on the State Hospital’s campus in Graz.

Objectives How can we reach parents of young children with safety messages? When is the best time to teach parents about child safety?

Results From our long-term experience we look to very important teachable moments to inform and teach parents of young children about child safety.

The first moment is around birth. For this purpose, we adopted the idea of a child safety house from Australia and built the first Austrian Child Safety House next to the Department of Paediatrics in Graz. The house makes it possible to show expectant and new parents how to make their homes safe.

The second moment is when parents accompany their children after an accident as inpatients in the hospital. And for that purpose we adopted a best practice project from Israel, called bedside counselling. This project aims first to inquire after the exact circumstances of the accident; second to improve parents’ level of knowledge about safety through a personal discussion with a safety expert and with information sheets that cover limited age ranges; and third to monitor the effectiveness of the counselling with a follow-up phone call. This project was very effective for parents of children up to the age of 8. Moreover, we discovered that after an accident, even if the injury was not severe, parents were more traumatised than we had expected.

Conclusions The bedside counselling program and the child safety house tours demonstrated that these critical moments of parents’ lives should be used to make their homes safer for babies and young children and to motivate them to think about safety more broadly.

  • children
  • Child Safety House
  • bedside counselling
  • home safety

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