Background.

Because injuries are the leading cause of death in children, injury prevention counseling is recommended as part of routine pediatric care. Increasing such counseling is a national health objective. Estimating the proportion of US children who receive such counseling and assessing their compliance with safety recommendations may help improve counseling efforts.

Methods.

Respondents to a 1994 random digit-dial telephone survey of the US population were asked about receipt of age-appropriate injury prevention counseling at a medical visit and related safety practices for a randomly selected child 0 to 14 years of age in the household (N = 1596).

Results.

Receiving any injury prevention counseling was reported for 39.3% of children 0 to 14 years old who had a medical visit in the past year and was more common among children who were younger, lived in urban areas, and lived in poverty. In general, receiving counseling was associated with safer behaviors. Counseling about ipecac was reported for 17.2% of children 0 to 6 years old; having ipecac in the home was more likely for those counseled (73.4% vs 32.0%). Counseling about posting the poison control number was reported for 24.9% of children 0 to 6 years old; posting this number was more common among those counseled (79.3% vs 52.6%). Counseling about bicycle helmets was reported for 18.6% of children 5 to 14 years old; a report of always wearing a helmet was more common among those counseled (43.9% vs 19.1%). Counseling about car seats and safety belts was reported for 25.4% of children 0 to 14 years old; a report of always using occupant restraints was more common among those counseled (89.0% vs 78.2%).

Conclusions.

Injury prevention counseling is associated with reported preventive safety practices among US children, but a relatively small proportion of households with young children report receiving such counseling. Health care providers should increase efforts to provide injury prevention counseling. counseling, wounds and injuries, child, accident prevention.

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