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With Safety Devices in Place, Kids' Injuries Decline: Study

THURSDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- Home safety devices greatly reduce the number of injuries sustained by small children, according to a new study.

Researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center looked at two groups of families with newborns. One set of families had properly installed and maintained safety devices in their homes, including stairway gates, cabinet locks, electrical outlet covers, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, safe storage for knives and other sharp items, and hot water heaters set below 120 degrees F.

After two years of follow-up, children in the homes with the safety devices had 70 percent fewer home-related injuries that required medical attention than did the children in the other group.

A report on the findings was published in the April issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

"The home environment is the most common location of injury for younger children," the study's lead investigator, Dr. Kieran J. Phelan, said in a medical center news release. "However, parents may not have the time, training or resources to obtain and install the best safety products. Considering the millions of trips to the emergency room and doctors' office visits each year for injuries in children, our data show that a tremendous amount of pain and suffering could be avoided and millions of dollars in health-care costs saved if a standard set of home safety measures were implemented on a broad scale."

He and his colleagues have expanded their research to include groups of low-income, first-time mothers and their children, who are considered to be at greater risk for injuries in the home.

Each year in the United States, about 2,800 children die from preventable injuries in the home, and millions more are treated in hospital emergency rooms, according to the researchers.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about child safety.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, news release, April 11, 2011

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