This study was conducted to survey parents of children seen in the emergency department regarding parent and child safety-related behaviors, parents' perceptions of their children's risks for injury, and educational needs.
The descriptive design involved three questionnaires with age-specific items related to children in groups 0–4 years, 5–12 years, and 13–15 years. Parents voluntarily completed the questionnaires in the emergency department waiting area. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics, parametric tests, and content analysis.
The culturally diverse sample included 81% minority group representation. Parents tended to underestimate their children's risks for injury from motor vehicle crashes. Less than one half of caretakers believed that most injuries can be prevented. Only one third of parents listed needs for future learning, although parents of younger children listed more needs. High response rates were received for knowing how to call 911, use of child car seats and seat belts, and smoke detectors in the home.
Survey results provide evidence that parents have misconceptions about childhood injury. Through strategic planning, we have expanded our community education programs to focus on cardiopulmonary resuscitation and activating the emergency medical system, water safety, use of safety helmets, and injury prevention in the home.