Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Comparison of Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviour of Health Professionals and Parents regarding Child Injuries

Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Comparison of Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviour of Health Professionals and Parents regarding Child Injuries

Article excerpt

SUMMARY

Objective: We wanted to primarily examine the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of parents and health workers (community nurses and paediatricians) regarding child injuries in order to understand the essence of the problem and to find out the most common misconceptions.

Methods: Respondents were tested through an anonymous, self-administered questionnaire and all p values below 0.05 were considered significant.

Results: Of all respondents, paediatricians answered accurately most of the questions considering knowledge than the other groups. More than 90% of respondents, in all groups, identified correct answers to 10 questions about attitudes towards child injury prevention and safety promotion.

Conclusion: This study, which shows the current level of knowledge, attitudes and behaviour patterns of parents and health professionals in Croatia, could help in the preparation of appropriate prevention programmes.

Key words: child injury prevention, knowledge, behaviour, attitude, health professionals, parents

INTRODUCTION

Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death and hospitalization in children worldwide (1, 2), and are becoming not just a national but also a public health problem. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), injuries and violence are major "killers" of children, responsible each year for about 950,000 deaths of children and young people under the age of 18. Unintentional injuries account for almost 90% of these cases. Tens of millions of children are hospitalized because of non-fatal injuries, and many of them suffer from lifelong disabilities (3). Most injuries occur at home under parental supervision (4). Some studies have shown that many parents believe that unintentional injuries are a normal part of childhood and they do not see themselves as being capable of preventing those types of injuries (5).

Parents who thought that they have little control over injuries had children with more non-minor injuries, and protective parents who worried more about their child's safety had children with a history of fewer non-minor injuries (6). Many parents agreed that most of the injuries could be avoided (7) and some parents believed that childhood injuries are of developmental function, because according to them, injuries serve the purpose of "teaching children a lesson" to avoid those type of situations which provoked the injuries in the future (5). Very small numbers of studies have explored the knowledge of health professionals and their role in injury prevention (8). Transferring knowledge to and counselling parents by health professionals was considered in some studies (9-13). Most health professionals have a positive attitude towards counselling parents, but a lack of time and materials are mentioned as a main reason for little preventive practice (9, 10, 13). Some health workers pointed out that they do not believe they could effectively prevent and reduce child unintentional injuries (11, 12). Some of them mentioned several reasons for not talking to parents during routine consultation, such as reasons for consultations that do not permit such an approach: "the fact that injuries are not priorities for them"; "the unsuitability of the place where the contact occurs for such discussion, given the time required"; "insufficient information on the subject"; and "the patient's lack of interest" (10). Others expressed some barriers to counselling such as "inadequate time during clinic visits"; "inadequate time to follow up with the parent if a risk is identified"; "didn't think to ask"; and "there are more important things to do" (13). Given that WHO states that each country should investigate the problem of child injuries in their country and prepare appropriate preventive programmes (14), we therefore wanted to primarily examine the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour patterns of parents and health workers in order to understand the essence of the problem and to find out the most common misconceptions. …

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