Fire and scald burn risks in urban communities: Who is at risk and what do they believe about home safety?

Department of Health, Behavior and Society and Center for Injury Research and Policy, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Health Education Research (Impact Factor: 1.66). 03/2013; 28(4). DOI: 10.1093/her/cyt046
Source: PubMed


While largely preventable, fire and hot water-related injuries are common in the United States. Measures recommended to reduce these injuries are smoke alarms (SAs) and lowered hot water temperatures. This study aims to: (i) describe the prevalence of working SAs and safe water temperatures among low-income, urban communities and (ii) explore the relationship between these behaviors and individuals' knowledge and beliefs about them. In this cross-sectional study, the Health Belief Model was used as a guide for understanding the safety behaviors. A total of 603 households had their SAs and hot tap water temperatures tested and were surveyed about their knowledge and beliefs related to these safety behaviors. We found that 40% of households had working SAs on every level and 57% had safe hot water temperatures. Perceived severity and self-efficacy were significantly associated with SA coverage, whereas perceived susceptibility and beliefs about benefits were significantly associated with safe hot water temperatures. This study demonstrates the need to increase the number of homes with working SAs and safe hot water temperatures. Messages focused on a safe home environment could communicate the ease and harm reduction features of SAs and benefits and risk reduction features of safe hot water temperatures.

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    • "HFS checks revealed 82% had at least one working smoke alarm and 42% had a smoke alarms on each level of their home. Parker and colleagues for 240 caregivers of children under 18 years of age reported 40% (n = 95) had working smoke alarms and 50% (n = 118) had safe hot water temperatures below 120 8F [6]. Shields and colleagues in a randomized control trial of an educational intervention delivered to 720 parents of children 4 months to 5 years, in an urban emergency department, who were telephoned 4–6 months to assess self-reported knowledge and behavior found no difference in knowledge and self-reported behaviors between groups (those receiving the intervention and those who did not) [7]. "
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