A RCT testing if a storybook can teach children about home safety

Barbara A. Morrongiello, Alexandra R. Marquis, Amanda Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for children under 19 years of age. For preschoolers, many injuries occur in the home. Addressing this issue, this study assessed if a storybook about home safety could be effective to increase preschoolers' safety knowledge and reduce their injury-risk behaviors. Methods: Applying a randomized controlled trial design, normally developing English speaking preschool children (3.5-5.5 years) in Southwestern Ontario Canada were randomly assigned to the control condition (a storybook about healthy eating, N = 30) or the intervention condition (a storybook about home hazards, N = 29). They read the assigned storybook with their mother for 4 weeks; time spent reading was tracked, and fidelity checks based on home visits were implemented. Results: Comparing postintervention knowledge, understanding score, and risk behaviors across groups revealed that children who received the intervention were able to identify more hazards, provide more comprehensive safety explanations, and demonstrate fewer risky behaviors compared with children in the control group (ηp2 = 0.13, 0.19, and 0.51, respectively), who showed no significant changes over time in safety knowledge, understanding, or risk behaviors. Compliance with reading the safety book and fidelity in how they did so were very good. Conclusions: A storybook can be an effective resource for educating young children about home safety and reducing their hazard-directed risk behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)866-877
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Accidents and injuries
  • Intervention outcome
  • Prevention science
  • Randomized controlled trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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