Cool runnings - an app-based intervention for reducing hot drink scalds: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Burgess, J.D, Cameron, C.M, Watt, K., and Kimble, R.M. (2016) Cool runnings - an app-based intervention for reducing hot drink scalds: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 17. 388.

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Background: Globally, burns are the fifth leading cause of non-fatal children's injuries, and the leading cause of childhood burns is hot beverage scalds. Although there have been a number of programmes aimed at preventing scalds in children, very few have specifically addressed hot beverage scalds, and fewer have reported a reduction in injury rates. In Australia, hot beverage scalds account for 18 % of all childhood burns - a figure that has remained constant for the past decade. Innovative new technologies, such as Smartphone applications (apps), present a novel way for delivering individual-level injury prevention messages. The low cost, scalability and broad reach make this technology an ideal channel for health interventions. One of the latest methods being used in health-related apps aimed at behaviour change is gamification. Gamification uses the gaming principles of rewards, competition and personalisation to engage participants and motivate them towards preferred behaviours. This intervention will use a Smartphone app-based platform that combines gamification and behaviour-change strategies to increase knowledge and awareness of hot beverage scald risks and burn first aid among mothers of young children.

Methods/design: This is a two-group, parallel, single-blinded randomised control trial (RCT) to evaluate the efficacy of a Smartphone app-based injury prevention intervention. The primary outcome measure is change in knowledge. Change in knowledge is measured in three components: knowledge of correct burns first aid; knowledge of the main cause of burns/scalds in children aged 0-15yrs; knowledge of the main age group at risk for burns/scalds. The secondary outcome measures relate to the gamification methods, measuring participants frequency of engagement with the Cool Runnings app. Queensland-based mothers aged 18+ years who own a Smartphone and have at least one child aged 5-12 months are eligible to participate.

Discussion: To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate an app-based delivery of injury prevention messages, and the first study to test the efficacy of gamification techniques in an injury prevention intervention. If this intervention is found to be effective, this RCT will provide a platform for targeting other childhood injury prevention campaigns.

Item ID: 45785
Item Type: Article (Scholarly Work)
ISSN: 1745-6215
Keywords: paediatric, burns, scalds, injury prevention, intervention, smartphone applications
Copyright Information: © 2016 Burgess et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Funders: Cooperative Research Centres (CRC), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: NHMRC 428254
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2016 07:34
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1114 Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine > 111403 Paediatrics @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920409 Injury Control @ 100%
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