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Seeing household chemicals through the eyes of children—Investigating influential factors of preschoolers’ perception and behavior


Bosshart, Noah; Bearth, Angela; Wermelinger, Stephanie; Daum, Moritz; Siegrist, Michael (2022). Seeing household chemicals through the eyes of children—Investigating influential factors of preschoolers’ perception and behavior. Journal of safety research, 83:400-409.

Abstract

Introduction: Children who encounter household chemicals run the risk of unintentional injury. The aim of this study was to understand which factors heighten children’s attention or misguide their decision-making concerning household chemicals. We hypothesized that certain product attributes (i.e., label, packaging, closure types), storage context, and parental beliefs play a role in this setting. Method: We conducted a laboratory study with N = 114 children (M = 45 months, SD = 6.5) and their parents (M = 38 years, SD = 4.92). Children completed a series of behavioral tasks in which they had to choose between products with different attributes, identify products in different storage contexts, and sort household chemicals. Results: The results confirmed that the children preferred products with cartoon-style labels compared to products without such labels. However, children’s decision-making did not differ for products with different closure types (child-resistant vs sprayer-type closures). Regarding the storage context, our results showed that the children particularly struggled to identify dishwashing tabs when they were stored with other food items rather than household chemicals. In terms of parental beliefs, our study found that parents rated more household chemicals as child-safe than their children did. Practical Application: Parents should buy household chemicals with neutral labels and pay attention to how their household chemicals are stored. Manufacturers should consider potential adverse effects when developing new product designs.

Abstract

Introduction: Children who encounter household chemicals run the risk of unintentional injury. The aim of this study was to understand which factors heighten children’s attention or misguide their decision-making concerning household chemicals. We hypothesized that certain product attributes (i.e., label, packaging, closure types), storage context, and parental beliefs play a role in this setting. Method: We conducted a laboratory study with N = 114 children (M = 45 months, SD = 6.5) and their parents (M = 38 years, SD = 4.92). Children completed a series of behavioral tasks in which they had to choose between products with different attributes, identify products in different storage contexts, and sort household chemicals. Results: The results confirmed that the children preferred products with cartoon-style labels compared to products without such labels. However, children’s decision-making did not differ for products with different closure types (child-resistant vs sprayer-type closures). Regarding the storage context, our results showed that the children particularly struggled to identify dishwashing tabs when they were stored with other food items rather than household chemicals. In terms of parental beliefs, our study found that parents rated more household chemicals as child-safe than their children did. Practical Application: Parents should buy household chemicals with neutral labels and pay attention to how their household chemicals are stored. Manufacturers should consider potential adverse effects when developing new product designs.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
06 Faculty of Arts > Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development
Dewey Decimal Classification:400 Language
150 Psychology
370 Education
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Building and Construction
Physical Sciences > Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
Uncontrolled Keywords:Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality, Building and Construction
Language:English
Date:1 December 2022
Deposited On:08 Feb 2023 12:58
Last Modified:29 May 2024 01:42
Publisher:Pergamon
ISSN:0022-4375
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsr.2022.09.015
Project Information:
  • : FunderBundesamt für Gesundheit
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)