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Effect of education and safety equipment on poisoning-prevention practices and poisoning: systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression
  1. D Kendrick1,
  2. S Smith1,
  3. A Sutton2,
  4. M Watson3,
  5. C Coupland1,
  6. C Mulvaney4,
  7. A Mason-Jones5
  1. 1
    Division of Primary Care, University Park, Nottingham, UK
  2. 2
    Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
  3. 3
    School of Nursing, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  4. 4
    Broxtowe and Hucknall Primary Care Trust, Hucknall Health Centre, Nottingham, UK
  5. 5
    Western Cape Department of Health, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa
  1. Professor D Kendrick, Division of Primary Care, Floor 13, Tower Building, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK; denise.kendrick{at}


Objective: To assess (a) the effect of home safety education and the provision of safety equipment on poison-prevention practices and poisoning rates, and (b) whether the effect of interventions differs by social group.

Data sources: Medline, Embase, Cinahl, ASSIA, Psychinfo, Web of Science, plus other electronic sources and hand searching of conference abstracts and reference lists. Authors of included studies were asked to supply individual participant data.

Review methods: Randomised controlled trials, non-randomised controlled trials and controlled before-and-after studies, with participants aged ⩽19 years, providing home safety education with or without free or subsidised safety equipment and reporting poison-prevention practices or poisoning incidents were included. Pooled odds ratios and pooled rate ratios were estimated, and meta-regression estimated intervention effects by child age, gender and social variables.

Results: Home safety interventions increased safe storage of medicines (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.22 to 2.02) and cleaning products (OR 1.63, 95% CI 1.22 to 2.17), the possession of syrup of ipecac (OR 3.34, 95% CI 1.50 to 7.41), and having poison control centre numbers accessible (OR 3.67, 95% CI 1.84 to 7.33). There was a lack of evidence on poisoning rates (rate ratio 1.03, 95% CI 0.78 to 1.36) and no consistent evidence that intervention effects differed by child age, gender or social group.

Conclusions: Home safety education and the provision of safety equipment improve poison-prevention practices, but the impact on poisoning rates is unclear. Such interventions are unlikely to widen inequalities in childhood poisoning-prevention practices.

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  • Competing interests: DK, CC, MW and AW undertook some of the trials included in this review. There are no other competing interests.