Purpose The Virginia Beach, VA, oceanfront is an important area for both tourism and local recreation. An important issue to the continued use of this area is safety and prevention of injuries. Previous research (Pruitt et al, 2002) established that approximately 75% of the reported injuries at the oceanfront were in children. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine if there would be a change in knowledge about beach injuries and risk factors for beach injuries based upon a one-time educational intervention.
Methods The materials for the beach safety intervention were created by a community coalition based upon the risk factors identified from the previous research. A knowledge survey based upon the intervention was created and validated. On the appointed Beach Safety Day, the intervention was set up at a park adjacent to the oceanfront. Participants, either parents or children aged 8-21 years old, gave consent or assent and then took the pre-survey. After viewing the educational intervention, participants completed a post-survey. Incentives were given for participation. Descriptive statistics were calculated for the demographic questions. For the knowledge items, a total score for each survey was calculated, and then a matched analysis of the difference was done for the comparison of pre-survey to post-survey. A question-by-question analysis was done to determine specific patterns in the change in knowledge. SAS v. 8.1 (Cary, NC) was used for all statistical analysis, and the level of significance was set at .05.
Results 115 adults took the survey. Most were visitors (81), female (90), and Caucasian/white (73). 58 children took the survey, with most being visitors (38), female (34), and Caucasian/white (36). The median age of the children was 12, with a range of 8 to 21. For the matched analysis of survey scores, 68% of the adults had a positive change (post-pre), which was a significant improvement (p < .0001). Likewise, for the children, 67% had a positive change (post-pre), which was also significant (p < .0001). Four questions (out of 11) for the adult survey and four questions (out of 10) for the child survey accounted for the greatest change in total scores.
Conclusions This educational event was successful in increasing knowledge about beach safety. Certain questions had more improvement than others, however, which indicated that the intervention was more successful in addressing certain points. Future educational interventions, either one-time or continuous, should address more fully those areas that did not show improvement in this study.
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