Injury prevention advice in top-selling parenting books

Academic Article


  • Objective. Parenting books are a commonly used source of information on how to keep children and adolescents safe from injuries, the leading cause of death and disability for children aged 1 to 18 years. The content and the quality of the messages contained in these books have not been evaluated formally. The objective of this study was to determine the quantity and the quality of injury prevention messages contained in popular parenting books. Methods. Top-selling parenting books for 2 major booksellers were reviewed to determine the presence and the accuracy of injury prevention messages as compared with those recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) through The Injury Prevention Program (TIPP) for younger children, aged 0 to 12 years, and the American Medical Association (AMA) through its Parent Package for the safety of adolescents. Results. Forty-six parenting books were reviewed, including 41 with messages related to younger children and 19 with messages related to adolescents. These books varied widely with regard to the number of injury prevention messages included. Although some books covered the great majority of TIPP messages for parents of young children, others included very few. In the case of books that address safety for adolescents, no book had more than half of the messages recommended by the AMA. Prevention of burns and motor vehicle injury were the most commonly addressed injury prevention topics in the books focused on younger children, whereas gun safety was the most prevalent injury prevention topic in books that focused on adolescents. Books that were authored by physicians addressed more of the recommended topics and messages than books that were written by authors from other professional backgrounds. The quality of messages was good, ie, consistent with the advice given by the AAP and the AMA. In only a few cases, the parenting books gave injury prevention advice that was inconsistent with recommendations. Conclusions. Overall, books on parenting adolescents are less likely to contain injury prevention messages than those that address younger children. However, the most frequent injury prevention messages for parents of adolescents describe strategies to prevent firearm injury, a leading cause of death for children in this age group. More emphasis should be placed on prevention of motor vehicle injuries, especially as relates to adolescents. Pediatricians and primary care physicians need to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of parenting manuals in providing adequate guidance related to injury prevention. Copyright © 2005 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Published In

  • Pediatrics  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 452621
  • Author List

  • Hunter WM; Helou S; Saluja G; Runyan CW; Coyne-Beasley T
  • Start Page

  • 1080
  • End Page

  • 1088
  • Volume

  • 116
  • Issue

  • 5