Background.

Written materials used in pediatric public health settings often exceed the reading skills of caretakers.

Objective.

To compare a pictorial anticipatory guidance (PAG) sheet requiring limited reading skills to a TIPP (The Injury Prevention Program) sheet for providing injury prevention information to low-income urban families.

Design and Setting.

A convenience sample of families with children treated at an urban pediatric clinic affiliated with a teaching hospital.

Methods.

Parents of children ≤6 years old received either a PAG sheet or a TIPP sheet during a well-child care clinic visit; parents of children seen in the morning clinic received a PAG sheet and those seen during the afternoon clinic a TIPP sheet. All also received injury prevention counseling by a clinic nurse. The recall of injury prevention information was assessed by telephone questionnaire 14 to 28 days after the clinic encounter.

Results.

We interviewed 66 parents (57% of families enrolled): 46 were in the PAG group and 20 in the TIPP group. There were no differences between groups in mean parent age, percent minority race, or percent public aid. Eighty-seven percent of PAG and 100% of TIPP parents recalled receiving an information sheet; 17% of PAG and 20% of TIPP parents could recall no specific injury topics. The mean number of topics recalled was 2.1 ± 1.5 from parents in the PAG group and 1.6 ± 1.1 from those in the TIPP group. No specific injury topic was recalled by more than half the parents in either group.

Conclusions.

Recall of injury information several weeks after a clinic visit is limited. The use of PAG sheets did not improve recall; lack of literacy is not the sole cause of poor recall. Successful injury prevention counseling in this population may require comprehensive and repetitive efforts.

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