Parenting interventions for the prevention of unintentional injuries in childhood

D Kendrick, J Barlow, A Hampshire, L Polnay, S Stewart-Brown
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007 October 17, (4): CD006020

BACKGROUND: Parent education and training programmes can improve maternal psychosocial health, child behavioural problems and parenting practices. This review assesses the effects of parenting interventions for reducing child injury.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of parenting interventions for preventing unintentional injury as well as increasing possession and use of safety equipment and parental safety practices.

SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Biological Abstracts, Psych INFO, Sociofile, Social Science Citation Index, CINAHL, Dissertation Abstracts, ERIC, DARE, ASSIA, Web of Science, SIGLE and ZETOC. We also handsearched abstracts from the World Conferences on Injury Prevention & Control and the journal Injury Prevention. The searches were conducted in May 2005.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs), non-randomised controlled trials (non-RCTs) and controlled before and after studies (CBAs), which evaluated parenting interventions administered to parents of children aged 18 years and under, and reported outcome data on injuries (unintentional or unspecified intent), and possession and use of safety equipment or safety practices. Parenting interventions were defined as those with a specified protocol, manual or curriculum aimed at changing knowledge, attitudes or skills covering a range of parenting topics.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Studies were selected, data were extracted and quality appraised independently by two authors. Pooled relative risks (RR) were estimated using random effect models.

MAIN RESULTS: Fifteen studies were included in the review: 11 RCTs (one included a CBA within the same study), one non-RCT, one study contained both randomised and non-randomised arms and two CBAs. Two provided solely educational interventions. Thirteen provided interventions comprising parenting education and other support services; 11 of which were home visiting programmes and two of which were paediatric practice-based interventions. Thirteen studies recruited families at risk of adverse child health outcomes. Nine RCTs were included in the primary meta-analysis, which indicated that intervention families had a significantly lower risk of injury (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.71 to 0.95). Several studies found fewer home hazards, a home environment more conducive to child safety, or a greater number of safety practices in intervention families.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Parenting interventions, most commonly provided within the home using multi-faceted interventions may be effective in reducing child injury. The evidence relates mainly to interventions provided to families at risk of adverse child health outcomes. Further research is required to explore mechanisms by which these interventions reduce injury, the features of parenting interventions that are necessary or sufficient to reduce injury and the generalisability to different population groups.

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