Canton, Ohio: Carolyn B. Schooley, R.N., Mercy Medical Center, and Amanda R. Kelly, B.A., C.H.E.S., Safe Kids Stark County, recently completed a joint study on children’s ability to recognize home hazards. Their findings were published in the July – September 2008 edition of the Journal of Trauma Nursing.
The article, "Home Hazards: Can Children Recognize the Dangers?," discussed research that Schooley and Kelly conducted locally with the Home Hazard Recognition Station during Safe Kids Day this past May. Schooley is the trauma nurse coordinator at Mercy, and Kelly is the coordinator of Safe Kids Stark County and a health educator for the Stark County Health Department.
The Home Hazard Recognition Station, a three-room trailer with front and rear entrances, simulated 13 different hazards. Children were asked to walk through the rooms and identify safety problems without coaching from parents. Hazards included aluminum in a microwave, open cleaning products, pot handle over the edge of the stove, flammable items in front of a fireplace, open pill containers and more.
Schooley said the purpose of the study was the get a better understanding of what children perceive as a danger.
She said, "While it’s key for parents to teach children about home hazards, behavior change really occurs when children recognize dangers on their own. Organizations that provide injury prevention services – like Mercy and Safe Kids – can create more effective injury prevention programs when they understand how kids see dangerous situations."
Using tally sheets, Schooley and Kelly scored the findings of 90 children, ages three to 17. Their study indicated that home hazard education needs to be directed at those ages 10 and younger, as this group missed a minimum of 25 percent of the items. Those between 11 and 17 showed a significant increase in hazard knowledge and could benefit from periodic reminders. In addition, parents also needed reminders on how to model safety in the home and teach their children to recognize and avoid dangerous situations.
Their article recommended a "hands-on approach to injury prevention" because real-life situations are foundational to learning. It also advocated for partnerships between trauma centers and local agencies like Safe Kids as a practical way to make an impact in the community.
For more information, contact Schooley at 330-489-1183. Or, call Safe Kids Stark County at 330-493-9904, ext. 282.
Mercy Medical Center, a nonprofit corporation of the Sisters of Charity Health System and University Hospitals Health System, operates a 476-bed hospital serving Stark, Carroll, Wayne, Holmes and Tuscarawas Counties and parts of Southeastern Ohio. It has 550 physicians on its Medical Staff and employs 2,500 people. Mercy operates outpatient health centers in Carrollton, Jackson Township, Lake Township, Louisville, North Canton and Plain Township. A Catholic hospital, Mercy Medical Center upholds the mission and philosophy of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine and continues to be responsive to the needs of the community, including the provision of care to all, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information, see www.cantonmercy.com.