199054 Home Safety Assessment among households with children in the Texas Rio Grande Valley

Monday, November 9, 2009: 3:05 PM

Genny Carrillo Zuniga, MD, ScD , Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Texas A&M Health Sciences Center, School of Rural Public Health, McAllen, TX
Nelda Mier, PhD , Texas A&M Health Sciences Center, School of Rural Public Health, McAllen, TX
Yoon-Ho Seol, PhD , Department of Health Informatics, Georgia Health Sciences University, Augusta, GA
Miguel A. Zuniga, MD, DrPH , Department of Health Policy and Management, Texas A&M Health Science Center, McAllen, TX
Purpose: To assess home safety in households with low-income children in the Rio Grande Valley.

Background: Young children are at high risk of home-related injuries. Unintentional childhood injury is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity for children ages 1-4 in the United States. The Rio Grande Valley in South Texas has the highest concentration of colonias along the United States-Mexico border. Colonias are unincorporated settlements in which many people live in impoverished conditions.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional, non-randomized pilot study using survey-based responses. The sample consisted of 60 colonia households with children less than 6 years of age in Hidalgo County. Trained promotoras identified and administered the survey to parents.

Results: Approximately 80% of the households had one or two children less than 12 years of age. Ninety percent of the children's parents considered that injury prevention was important. However, 24 families (40%) did not use electrical outlet plugs; 63% did not have smoke detectors; 80% did not have fire extinguishers; and 45% did not have stove guards. The number of home hazards ranged from 2 to 14 out of 24 possible hazards (mean=6.78, SD=2.9). Almost 20% of the households were exposed to 10 or more hazards.

Conclusions: This pilot study suggests that the colonia population at the border is at risk of unintentional injuries due to inadequate home safety practices. There is a need to promote home safety through educational interventions for children and their families in the Texas-Mexico border colonias.

Learning Objectives:
1) To identify the home risk-related injuries in households with children. 2) To identify common home hazards encountered in low-income families. 3) To discuss the need for home safety education among families with young children.

Keywords: Children's Health, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a faculty doing research about children's health and home safety. Indoor home pollution, asthma and pesticides have been some of the topics related with children that I have worked in the colonias in South Texas.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.