Injury Prevention Anticipatory Guidance by Patient Age Group

Published:January 19, 2023DOI:


      Unintentional injuries remain a leading cause of death for children and adolescents older than 1 year. Injury prevention has long been a cornerstone of anticipatory guidance. Previous studies have established the sustained efficacy of injury prevention anticipatory guidance in pediatric primary care. This study examines the topical emphasis of injury prevention anticipatory guidance by patient age, with special attention given to the rate of water safety anticipatory guidance across four patient age groups.


      A nationwide, random sample of AAP member pediatricians were surveyed on their experiences, attitudes, and practices related to injury prevention anticipatory guidance, including barriers to delivering anticipatory guidance.


      Of the respondents who reported providing direct patient care, 92% considered injury prevention anticipatory guidance a priority issue. The content of that injury prevention guidance varied considerably by patient age. Roughly half (53%) reported counseling families with adolescents on water safety/drowning prevention, which represents a statistically significant decrease relative to other patient age groups.


      Reported injury prevention anticipatory guidance is high across different mechanisms of injury. However, fewer pediatricians deliver drowning prevention anticipatory guidance to adolescents than to younger patients. Targeted outreach and education to increase injury prevention anticipatory guidance, especially for adolescent patients, should be part of a multi-pronged approach to decrease drowning and other injury deaths.
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