Objective. This study assesses parents' literacy skills and evaluates how literacy levels influenced the effectiveness of a health communication intervention designed to improve safety knowledge in low-income, urban families. Methods. A total of n = 450 parents of children aged 4 to 66 months completed the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM) and participated in a randomized trial of an injury prevention intervention delivered via computer kiosk in a pediatric emergency department. A safety knowledge test was administered by telephone 2 to 4 weeks later. Results. More than one-third of parents were assessed by the REALM to have marginal (30%) or inadequate (8%) reading levels; the remaining 62% of parents had adequate reading levels. REALM scores were independently associated with knowledge gains for poison storage and smoke alarms. Conclusions. Participants reading level had an independent and significant effect on safety knowledge outcomes. Literacy level should be considered in all patient education efforts.
- health literacy
- injury prevention
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health