Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Young children's perceptions of fire-safety messages: do framing and parental mediation matter?

TitleYoung children's perceptions of fire-safety messages: do framing and parental mediation matter?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsBorzekowski, D, Clearfield, E, Rimal, R, Gielen, A
JournalJ Burn Care Res
Date PublishedJul-Aug
ISBN Number1559-0488 (Electronic)1559-047X (Linking)
Accession Number23877137
Keywords*Fires, *Health Behavior, *Health Education, *Parents, *Safety, Age Factors, Child, Preschool, Comprehension, Female, Humans, Male, Mental Recall, Self Efficacy, Sex Factors, Teaching/methods, Videotape Recording

Media can deliver health and safety messages promoting child health and injury prevention. This study examined the effects of message framing and parental mediation on children's perceptions of fire-safety messages. Using a 2 x 3 randomized experimental design, this study considered both message framing (gain or loss) and parental mediation (no mediation/control, unscripted, or scripted) with 320 children who were 4 and 5 years of age. Children saw two messages (burn and smoke inhalation) embedded in a cartoon. Afterward, researchers assessed children's recall, understanding, and perceptions of self-efficacy and social norms. Children were more likely to recall the safety messages if they were older (burn: adjusted odds ration [AOR] = 2.74 and smoke: AOR = 2.58), and could recall the smoke inhalation message if they had unscripted mediation (AOR = 3.16). Message understanding was poor, with only about 50% of children choosing a correct behavior in a similar scenario. For the burn message, correct understanding was associated with gain-framing and scripted mediation (AOR = 3.22 and 5.77, respectively). Only the scripted mediation group was significantly associated with an increase in perceived social norms (burn: coefficient =.37 and smoke: coefficient =.55; P <.001. Gain-framing was associated with increased odds of self-efficacy for both behaviors (burn: AOR = 1.77 and smoke: AOR = 1.77). Messages that show positive outcomes combined with scripted parental mediation appear most effective in communicating safety behaviors, but the overall effectiveness of video-based messages to teach children safety behaviors needs to be enhanced.