Understanding low-income mothers' efforts to provide safe home environments for young children

Unintentional injuries represent the leading cause of death for children and youth under the age of 20. For children under five, approximately half of all deaths due to unintentional injuries occur in and around the home. Research shows that children living in low-income families are at greatest risk for home injuries. Studies also show that parental attitudes towards safety issues vary greatly, and that there are discrepancies between attitudes and taking action to prevent injuries. However, little is known about parents’ underlying values about safety and injury risks to young children and how these values fit into the broader social context of children and safety issues. Lise Olsen is exploring low-income mothers’ experiences with safety issues in the home. Using ethnographic methods, including interviews and observations, the study will provide insight about the everyday challenges of keeping young children safe from injuries at home. Ultimately, Lise hopes the research contributes to the design of appropriate and relevant injury prevention programs and policies.