Approaches used by parents to keep their children safe at home: a qualitative study to explore the perspectives of parents with children aged under five years

Ablewhite, Joanne, McDaid, Lisa ORCID:, Hawkins, Adrian, Peel, Isabel, Goodenough, Trudy, Deaves, Toity, Stewart, Jane, Watson, Michael and Kendrick, Denise (2015) Approaches used by parents to keep their children safe at home: a qualitative study to explore the perspectives of parents with children aged under five years. BMC Public Health, 15. ISSN 1471-2458

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Background Childhood unintentional injury represents an important global health problem. Many unintentional injuries experienced by children aged under 5 years occur within the home and are preventable. The aim of this study was to explore the approaches used by parents of children under five in order to help prevent unintentional injuries in the home and the factors which influence their use. Understanding how parents approach risk-management in the home has important implications for injury practitioners. Methods A multi-centre qualitative study using semi-structured interviews. A thematic approach was used to analyse the data. Sixty five parents of children aged under 5 years, from four study areas were interviewed: Bristol, Newcastle, Norwich and Nottingham. Results Three main injury prevention strategies used by parents were: a) Environmental such as removal of hazards, and use of safety equipment; b) parental supervision; and c) teaching, for example, teaching children about safety and use of rules and routine. Strategies were often used in combination due to their individual limitations. Parental assessment of injury risk, use of strategy and perceived effectiveness were fluid processes dependent on a child’s character, developmental age and the prior experiences of both parent and child. Some parents were more proactive in their approach to home safety while others only reacted if their child demonstrated an interest in a particular object or activity perceived as being an injury risk. Conclusion Parents’ injury prevention practices encompass a range of strategies that are fluid in line with the child’s age and stage of development; however, parents report that they still find it challenging to decide which strategy to use and when. Keywords: Child safety; Child injury prevention; Safety strategies; Qualitative

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2015 Ablewhite et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Uncontrolled Keywords: child safety,child injury prevention,safety strategies,qualitative
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2015 11:01
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 00:21
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-015-2252-x

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