Background Many unintentional injuries that occur in the home can be prevented through the use of safety equipment and by following safety recommendations. Unfortunately, uptake of these safety behaviors in the U.S. is unacceptably low.
Objective Evaluate the impact of and determine whether a mobile technology-based health behavior change intervention, the Make Safe Happen app, is effective in increasing 1) safety knowledge; 2) safety actions/behaviors; 3) safety device acquisition and use; and 4) behavioral intention (planning to take safety actions or acquire devices) for the prevention of unintentional home-related injuries, compared with no intervention.
Methods Participants were parents of children aged 0–12 years recruited from an existing, nationally representative online survey panel. Eligible participants completed a pretest survey, were randomized to receive the Make Safe Happen app or a non-injury-related app, and then completed a follow-up 7–10 days later.
Findings Safety knowledge score increased at a greater rate between the pretest and posttest, and was larger than that of the control group (p<0.0001). The percentage of participants who reported doing repeated safety actions (e.g., locking up poisons after each use) significantly increased from 71.1% at pretest to 77.4% at posttest for the intervention group (p<0.001), while there was no change in the control group. The percentage of parents who completed single-time safety actions (e.g., installing a smoke alarm) significantly increased from 52.9% at pretest to 60.7% at posttest for the intervention group (p<0.001). Additional results will be presented on the effect of the intervention on behavioral intention and safety device installation, and on the development of the Make Safe Happen app and program.
Conclusion Wide-reaching interventions, to reach parent and caregiver audiences and effectively reduce childhood injuries are needed. This study contributes to the evidence-base about how to increase safety knowledge and actions to prevent home-related injuries in children.
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