Objectives. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) believes that health education, through office-based counseling, can contribute to childhood injury prevention. This report presents the results of a critical review of the scientific literature on the effectiveness of primary care-based counseling to prevent childhood unintentional injury.
Methods. A panel selected from the AAP Committee and the AAP Section on Injury and Poison Prevention searched the English-language scientific literature for all articles about childhood unintentional injury prevention counseling. A standardized format was developed to record data on each study. Two members of the panel independently reviewed each article. Articles that were original reports and in which unintentional injury prevention counseling took place in a primary care setting were included. Articles were encoded and analyzed by computer and then grouped by quality of evidence using the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) method of categorizing results of medical care evaluation. Articles were rated by strength of study design in order to compare studies within each USPSTF group.
Results. Twenty articles met the criteria for inclusion. Of these, 18 showed positive effects of injury prevention counseling including five randomized/controlled, 10 non-randomized/controlled, two multiple time series, and one descriptive study. In 15 of the positive studies, physicians performed the counseling. Positive outcomes as measured by increased knowledge, improved behavior, or decreased injury occurrence were reported for both motor vehicle and non-motor vehicle injuries.
Conclusions. The literature review supports the recommendation of the AAP to include injury prevention counseling as part of routine health supervision. This recommendation has implications for health care reimbursement and care content.