Telling kids in the right way about dangers can prevent awful accidents at home.
Research from the Faculty of Health and Society at Malmö University in Sweden shows that targeted and individually adapted information to the parents of small children would reduce the risk of accidents involving children in the home, where most child accidents occur.
Anna Carlsson, a pediatric nurse and researcher of the Faculty of Health and Society at Malmö University, has gone through local journals and found that it is especially children between the ages of one and two that suffer burns, and that boys are involved more often than girls.
"The most common accidents involve scalding injuries. They often occur in the kitchen, when the child climbs up on the stove or counter, tips over a pan on itself or pulls on a cord, to a tea kettle, for example, and is scalded by water," said Carlsson.
Upon interviewing parents about what they believe caused an accident, she found that many blame the difficulty of keeping pace with rapid development, and they misjudge both the speed and the reach of their growing children.
'Ouch-ouch' is simply not enough
"Many parents also overestimate their child's capacity to understand danger. If a small child is really curious, it's not enough for it to have been told that the stove is an 'ouch-ouch.' Their curiosity will get the upper hand," warns Carlsson.
In Sweden, information intended to prevent children's accidents in the home is given to all parents when the child is 8 months old. However, this information is falling short of being efficient. Carlsson observed that half the parents do not follow the advice, parents with low levels of education follow the advice to a lesser extent and parents from immigrant backgrounds frequently do not heed the warnings.
She also said that few nurses are aware of the important educational role they have. "They are very good at documenting the fact that they have conveyed information, but not in what manner and what impact it had," noted Carlsson.
Carlsson asserted that information needs tailoring to individual couples, and her research also indicates that targeted and adapted advice motivates parents to undertake more accident-prevention measures in the home.
"It's largely a matter of creating an awareness of the fact that accidents can happen and how they can be prevented," concludes Carlsson.