Using Baby Books to Increase New Mothers’ Safety Practices



      To determine whether educational baby books are an effective method for increasing low-income, first-time mothers’ safety practices during their child’s first 18 months.


      Primiparous women (n = 167) were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: an educational book group, a noneducational book group, or a no-book group. Home visits and interviews measured safety practices when women were in their third trimester of pregnancy (baseline) and when their children were 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, and 18 months of age.


      Women in the educational book group had fewer risks in their homes and exercised more safety practices than the no-book group (– 20% risk reduction; effect size = −.30). When the safety practices involved little time or expense (eg, putting away sharp objects), the educational book group was significantly more likely to engage in these behaviors than the no-book group (40% higher practices; effect size = 0.19) or noneducational book group (27% higher practices; effect size = 0.13). However, no differences were found between groups for behaviors that required high effort in time, money, or hassle (eg, installing latches on cabinets).


      Educational baby books appear to be an easy and low-cost way to increase the safety practices of new mothers, especially if the practices involve little to no time, money, or hassle.


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