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Home safety: development and validation of one component of an ecobehavioral treatment program for abused and neglected children.

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PMC
Keywords
  • Research Article
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  • Design

Abstract

Parents may be charged with child abuse or neglect or both on the basis of a variety of circumstances. Child neglect, for example, is often documented when caseworkers observe that the family's home itself is so poorly kept that it presents an environment in which young children have ready access to lethal hazards such as poisons, uncovered wall outlets, and firearms. In this study, we describe the development of a Home Accident Prevention Inventory (HAPI) which was validated and used to assess hazards in the homes of several families under state protective service for child abuse and neglect. The HAPI included five categories of hazards: fire and electrical, mechanical-suffocation, ingested object suffocation, firearms, and solid/liquid poisons. Following the collection of baseline data, parents were presented with a treatment package that included instructions and demonstrations on making hazards inaccessible to children, plus feedback regarding the number and location of hazards in the home. The multiple-baseline design across hazardous categories in each family's home showed that the package resulted in decreases in the number of these accessible hazards. These improvements were maintained over an extended period of unannounced follow-up checks. This research provides a model for the development and assessment of an area previously unexamined in the child abuse and neglect literature.

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