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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 98, Issue 4, pp 271–275 | Cite as

Preventing Product-related Injuries

A Randomized Controlled Trial of Poster Alerts
  • I. Barry PlessEmail author
  • Brent Hagel
  • Hema Patel
  • Denis Leduc
  • Helen Magdalinos
Article
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

Background

The Product Safety Programme (PSP) of Health Canada is responsible for preventing product-related injuries. If PSP decides a product is dangerous, it can publicize its dangers, prohibit, or control its distribution; but for child products, the preferred option is to publicize its concerns. In the past, this included sending posters to paediatricians’ offices and, more recently, placing alerts on the PSP website. This study examines the effectiveness of this process.

Methods

15 Montreal paediatricians participated in a modified crossover randomized trial. During a randomly chosen intervention week, two product-related notices were posted in the paediatricians’ waiting area. In the following or preceding week, these notices did not appear. Parents were interviewed by telephone to determine if they saw the posters and acted on the information received.

Results

We interviewed 808 parents (86%) of the 940 who agreed to participate. Of these, only 16% of the intervention and less than 1% of the control group reported seeing the posters. There were no differences in reported changes in behaviours related to the notices. These findings are unchanged after taking account of socio-economic status. No parents cited the posters, websites, or paediatricians as their main source of information about dangerous products.

Conclusion

Product safety notices, whether sent to paediatricians’ practices or posted on a website, cannot be relied upon to reach parents of preschool age children. Other approaches require consideration, such as increasing the power of PSP to regulate product safety.

MeSH terms

Health promotion public health safety management promotion of health knowledge/attitudes/practices 

Résumé

Contexte

Le Programme de la sécurité des produits (PSP) de Santé Canada est chargé de prévenir les risques de blessures associés aux produits. Si le PSP détermine qu’un produit est dangereux, il peut soit en faire connaître les dangers, soit l’interdire, soit en restreindre la distribution, mais en ce qui concerne les produits destinés aux enfants, c’est la première de ces trois approches qui est la plus utilisée. On envoie d’habitude des affiches aux cabinets des pédiatres; depuis peu, on publie aussi des alertes sur le site Web du PSP. Notre étude porte sur l’efficacité de tels procédés.

Méthode

Quinze pédiatres montréalais ont pris part à un essai aléatoire croisé modifié. Au cours d’une semaine d’intervention sélectionnée au hasard, ils ont affiché dans leur salle d’attente deux avis concernant des produits destinés aux enfants. Ces avis n’ont été affichés ni la semaine suivante, ni la semaine précédente. Nous avons interviewé des parents au téléphone pour leur demander s’ils avaient vu les affiches et s’ils en avaient pris acte.

Résultats

Sur les 940 parents ayant accepté de participer, 808 (86 %) ont été interviewés. De ce nombre, 16 % seulement du groupe de la semaine d’intervention et moins de 1 % du groupe témoin ont dit avoir vu les affiches. Les répondants n’ont mentionné aucun changement dans leurs comportements après avoir pris connaissance des avis. Ces constatations demeurent inchangées même après la prise en compte du statut socioéconomique des répondants. Aucun parent n’a mentionné une affiche, un site Web ou un pédiatre comme étant sa principale source de renseignements sur les produits dangereux.

Conclusion

Pour informer les parents d’enfants d’âge préscolaire des risques que posent certains produits, on ne peut se fier aux avis affichés dans les cabinets des pédiatres ou publiés sur un site Web. D’autres méthodes doivent être envisagées, comme d’accroître les pouvoirs conférés au PSP pour réglementer la sécurité des produits.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Barry Pless
    • 1
    Email author
  • Brent Hagel
    • 2
  • Hema Patel
    • 3
  • Denis Leduc
    • 3
  • Helen Magdalinos
    • 4
  1. 1.Dept. of Pediatrics and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Faculty of MedicineMcGill University, Montreal Children’s HospitalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Dept. of Paediatrics and Community Health Sciences, Alberta Children’s Hospital, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  3. 3.Dept. of Pediatrics, Faculty of MedicineMcGill UniversityCanada
  4. 4.Montreal Children’s HospitalCanada

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