Parenting - BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit


This area of research investigates the relationship between parents and child injury prevention. It encompasses the burden of injury in children, the role of fathers in safeguarding, and risk engagement and protection. Contact Dr. Mariana Brussoni for details.

Parenting and Children’s Outdoor Risky Play

Go Play Outside! (funded by Lawson Foundation)

Outdoor play is fundamental for children’s development as it can promote healthy social and physical development, emotional wellbeing, self-confidence, risk management, and overall physical activity. Yet opportunities for children’s outdoor play have been decreasing across generations largely due to parental concerns about safety. This trend must be reversed and it requires a big societal shift.

Recognizing this urgent need, the BCIRPU at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute has developed the Risk Reframing workshop to help parents and early child educators learn the importance of outdoor play for children and develop strategies for letting them engage in healthy outdoor play. This workshop has been delivered across Canada over two years, resulting positive changes in behaviour, practice, and policy among workshop participants.

However, the Risk Reframing workshop is available only in-person, which is not the most efficient or practical way for promoting the large-scale societal shift. To address this issue, we proposed to translate the workshop to an online format, making it amenable to a broader population.

An online tool has been developed and we are in the process of (2017-2019) of evaluating the efficacy of this tool in changing parenting practice using a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) method, and we are currently recruiting parents of young children to participate in our RCT portion of the study.

Parenting and Injury Prevention

Fathers’ Injury Prevention (funded by Vancouver Foundation and CIHR)

This research examined fathers’ attitudes and practices towards preventing injury and keeping children safe. We interviewed 96 families with children aged 2-7 years from urban and rural settings across BC and Quebec to find out:

  • How social ideas about masculinity influence fathering
  • How fathers and mothers make decisions together about child risk and safety
  • How living in different urban and rural settings influences their parenting decisions

We found that the changing role of fathers provides an important opportunity for engaging them in supporting their children’s risk-taking and injury prevention. Most couples perceived that men were more comfortable with risk than women, with most fathers placing a high value on providing children with risk-taking opportunities. We developed a model outlining four decision-making characteristics for striking a balance between risk and protection. Fathers in different geographic settings differed in the purpose they ascribed to children’s play, ranging from play as a means of emotional engagement, to develop capacity for outdoor activities and to teach children survival skills, for fathers in large urban settings, small urban settings, and rural settings, respectively.

To read more about this study see:

  • Creighton, G., Brussoni, M., Oliffe, J., & Olsen, L. L. (2015). “It’s good for the kids”: Fathers consider risk and protection in their own and their children’s lives. Journal of Family Issues. Link
  • Creighton, G., Brussoni, M., Oliffe, J., & Han, C. (2015). Picturing masculinities: Using photo-elicitation in men’s health research. American Journal of Men’s Health. Link
  • Olsen, L. L., Oliffe, J. L., Brussoni, M., & Creighton, G. (2015). Fathers’ views on their financial situations, father-child activities, and preventing child injuries. American Journal of Men’s Health, 9(1), 15-25. Link
  • Creighton, G., Brussoni, M., Oliffe, J. L., & Olsen, L. L. (2015). Fathers on child’s play: Urban and rural Canadian perspectives. Men and Masculinities, 18(5), 559-580. Link
  • Brussoni, M., Olsen, L. L., Creighton, G., & Oliffe, J. L. (2013). Heterosexual gender relations in and around childhood risk and safety. Qualitative Health Research, 23(10), 1388-1398. Link
  • Brussoni, M., Creighton, G., Olsen, L. L., & Oliffe, J. L. (2013). Men on fathering in the context of children’s unintentional injury prevention. American Journal of Men’s Health, 7, 75-84. Link
  • Brussoni, M., & Olsen, L. L. (2013). The perils of overprotective parenting: Fathers’ perspectives explored. Child: Care, Health and Development, 39, 237-245. Link
  • Olsen, L. L., Kruse, S., & Brussoni, M. (2013). Unheard voices: A qualitative exploration on fathers’ access of child safety information. Journal of Community Health, 38, 187-194. Link
  • Brussoni, M., & Olsen, L. (2011). Striking a balance between risk and protection: Fathers’ attitudes and practices towards child injury prevention. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 32(7), 491-498. Link

Fathers’ Risk Engagement and Protection Survey (REPS) (funded by BCCH Telethon)

The purpose of this study is to develop and validate a survey instrument to provide a risk engagement and protection profile for fathers in their approach to injury prevention of their children.

Exploring safety perceptions and preventive behaviours of parents of children with disabilities and chronic conditions (funded by BCCH Foundation)

In this study, we interviewed parents to find out the extra challenges and special injury prevention concerns they had that related to their child’s disability or chronic health condition.

To read more about this study see:

  • Olsen, L., Kruse, S., Miller, A., & Brussoni, M. (2016). Safety-related concerns of parents for children with disabilities and chronic conditions. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 37(2), 121-131. Link

Child & Youth Burden of Injury Study (funded by CIHR and MSFHR) 

This study examined how injuries affect children and their families. Injuries are the leading cause of death and a major cause of disabilities for Canadian children and youth. Despite the major burden that injuries represent, we know relatively little about the long term quality of life outcomes after injury. We followed parents and children between the ages of 0 and 16 years who had attended BC Children’s Hospital for an injury over the span of a year.

We were interested in learning:

  1. How injuries impact a child’s health
  2. What might influence how a child recovers from injury
  3. How families deal with having an injured child
  4. What changes there are in a child’s quality of life in the year after the injury

A total of 378 families were enrolled in the study. The majority of children in our sample were engaged in leisure or physical activity at the time of their injury. A small minority of children had residual effects of their injury one year later and ongoing rehabilitation support should be considered in reducing recuperation time. The vast majority of injured children recuperated quickly, regardless of severity of injury.

To read more about this study see:

  • Bell, N., Kruse, S., Simons, R. K., & Brussoni, M. (2014). A spatial analysis of functional outcomes and quality of life after pediatric injury. Injury Epidemiology, 1, 16. DOI: 10.1186/s40621-014-0016-1. Link
  • Yates, M. T., Ishikawa, T., Schneeberg, A., & Brussoni, M. (2016). Pediatric Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (PaedsCTAS) as a measure of injury severity. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(7), 659. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph13070659. Link
  • Schneeberg, A., Kruse, S., Zallen, E., Ishikawa, T., Mitton, C., Bettinger, J., & Brussoni, M. (2016). A longitudinal study on quality of life after injury in children. Health and Quality of Life, 14, 120. DOI: 10.1186/s12955-016-0523-6. Link

Burden of Injury Validation Study (funded by PHAC)

Validating the collection of quality of life data via paper/pencil, phone, and web and to determine the correlation between answers completed within these three modalities. The aim was to determine suitable forms of data collection as we expand burden of injury data collection to trauma centres across Canada.

To read more about this study see:

  • Brussoni, M., Kruse, S., & Walker, K. (2013). Validity and reliability of the EQ-5D-3L among a paediatric injury population. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 11, 157. DOI: 10.1186/1477-7525-11-157. Link
  • Kruse, S., Schneeberg, A., & Brussoni, M. (2014). Construct validity and impact of mode of administration of the PedsQLTM among a pediatric injury population. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 12, 168. Link