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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(12), 1198; doi:10.3390/ijerph13121198

Evaluating a Website to Teach Children Safety with Dogs: A Randomized Controlled Trial

UAB Youth Safety Lab, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA
Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA
Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
Digital Artefacts, LLC, Iowa City, IA 52240, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 3 November 2016 / Accepted: 23 November 2016 / Published: 2 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [12318 KB, uploaded 2 December 2016]   |  


Dog bites represent a significant threat to child health. Theory-driven interventions scalable for broad dissemination are sparse. A website was developed to teach children dog safety via increased knowledge, improved cognitive skills in relevant domains, and increased perception of vulnerability to bites. A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 69 children aged 4–5 randomly assigned to use the dog safety website or a control transportation safety website for ~3 weeks. Assessment of dog safety knowledge and behavior plus skill in three relevant cognitive constructs (impulse control, noticing details, and perspective-taking) was conducted both at baseline and following website use. The dog safety website incorporated interactive games, instructional videos including testimonials, a motivational rewards system, and messaging to parents concerning child lessons. Our results showed that about two-thirds of the intervention sample was not adherent to website use at home, so both intent-to-treat and per-protocol analyses were conducted. Intent-to-treat analyses yielded mostly null results. Per-protocol analyses suggested children compliant to the intervention protocol scored higher on knowledge and recognition of safe behavior with dogs following the intervention compared to the control group. Adherent children also had improved scores post-intervention on the cognitive skill of noticing details compared to the control group. We concluded that young children’s immature cognition can lead to dog bites. Interactive eHealth training on websites shows potential to teach children relevant cognitive and safety skills to reduce risk. Compliance to website use is a challenge, and some relevant cognitive skills (e.g., noticing details) may be more amenable to computer-based training than others (e.g., impulse control). View Full-Text
Keywords: dog bite; safety; cognitive development; website; ehealth; prevention dog bite; safety; cognitive development; website; ehealth; prevention

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Schwebel, D.C.; Li, P.; McClure, L.A.; Severson, J. Evaluating a Website to Teach Children Safety with Dogs: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 1198.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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