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Mulvaney CA, Kendrick D. Inj. Prev. 2004; 10(6): 375-378.


Division of Primary Care, University of Nottingham, UK.


(Copyright © 2004, BMJ Publishing Group)








OBJECTIVE: To examine engagement in home safety practices to prevent injuries in preschool children among white and non-white ethnic minority families. DESIGN: A self completion postal questionnaire assessed sociodemographic characteristics and engagement in home safety practices. SETTING: Deprived areas in the city of Nottingham, United Kingdom. SUBJECTS: 3906 caregivers of children aged under 5 years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Use of fireguards, stair gates, smoke alarms, window locks and safe storage of medicines, sharp objects, and cleaning products. RESULTS: Of the 3906 families, 3805 gave their ethnic origin of which 16.5% classed themselves as from a non-white ethnic minority. The safety practices most commonly adopted by respondents were safe storage of medicines (87.9%) and use of smoke alarms (72.3%). Respondents from non-white ethnic minorities were significantly less likely to adopt all safety practices except they were less likely than whites to store sharp objects unsafely (odds ratio (OR) 0.68, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.56 to 0.84). Those from non-white ethnic minorities were significantly more likely to indicate that they "did not know they could get" fireguards (adjusted OR 6.01, 95% CI 2.64 to 13.65), stair gates (adjusted OR 4.47, 95% CI 1.53 to 13.05), and cupboard locks (adjusted OR 3.96, 95% CI 2.77 to 5.66) than whites. They were also significantly more likely to say they would need help fitting fireguards (adjusted OR 1.98, 95% CI 1.03 to 3.81), stair gates (adjusted OR 3.61, 95% CI 2.11 to 6.17), and cupboard locks (adjusted OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.39 to 2.54). CONCLUSIONS: Our results support the hypothesis that families from non-white ethnic minorities are less likely to engage in some safety practices and illustrate inequalities in access to information regarding the availability and fitting of safety equipment. Further work is required to examine the association between adoption of safety practices and injury rates in children from non-white ethnic minorities.


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