To examine the effectiveness of a home visit program to improve home safety and decrease the frequency of injury in children. We examined the effects of the program on 1) parental injury awareness and knowledge; 2) the extent that families used home safety measures; 3) the rate of injury; and 4) the cost effectiveness of the intervention.


A randomized, controlled trial.


A multicenter trial conducted at 5 hospitals in 4 Canadian urban centers.


Children <8 years old, initially enrolled in an injury case-control study, were eligible to participate.


Subsequent to a home inspection conducted to determine baseline hazard rates for both groups, participants in the intervention group received a single home visit that included the provision of an information package, discount coupons, and specific instruction regarding home safety measures.

Main Results.

The median age was 2 years, with males comprising ∼60% of participants. The experimental groups were comparable at outset in terms of case-control status, age, gender, and socioeconomic status. Parental injury awareness and knowledge was high; 73% correctly identified injury as the leading cause of death in children, and an intervention effect was not demonstrated. The adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for the home inspection items indicated that significant safety modifications only occurred in the number of homes having hot water not exceeding 54°C (OR: 1.31, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.14, 1.50) or the presence of a smoke detector (OR: 1.45, 95% CI: 0.94, 2.22). However, the intervention group reported home safety modifications of 62% at 4 months and significantly less injury visits to the doctor compared with the nonintervention group (rate ratio: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.58, 0.96). The total costs of care for injuries were significantly lower in the intervention group compared with the nonintervention group with a cost of $372 per injury prevented.


An intervention using a single home visit to improve the extent to which families use safety measures was found to be insufficient to influence the long-term adoption of home safety measures, but was effective to decrease the overall occurrence of injuries. Future programs should target a few, well-focused, evidence-based areas including the evaluation of high-risk groups and the effect of repeated visits on outcome.

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