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Urban Households with Infants Often Lack Home Safety

Often lack working smoke alarms, locked medication storage

FRIDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Inner-city families with infants often lack home safety practices such as working smoke alarms and locked medication storage, according to study findings published in the August issue of Pediatrics.

Kimberly E. Stone, M.D. from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues examined home safety in 32 families in East Baltimore who were expecting a child or had a child under the age of 1 year. Home safety was examined through home visits and maternal self-report.

The researchers found that maternal-reported safety practices were higher than investigator-observed home visits. Of families who reported having a working smoke alarm on every floor, these were non-working or absent in 55 percent of cases. A gate could not be placed at the top of 67 percent of staircases and could not be placed at the bottom in 38 percent of staircases. Most families reported that medications were kept locked, but were observed to be stored unlocked in 77 percent of cases.

"In this sample of urban families, implementation of American Academy of Pediatrics-recommended safety practices is low," Stone and colleagues conclude. "The structural design of urban homes may be a significant barrier to home safety-product use."

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