Preventing childhood burns through social media

31 Oct 2017

Researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia, have used targeted social media to successfully recruit 498 Queensland-based mothers for an injury prevention campaign in just 30 days.

The recruitment campaign ­– for an app-based burn prevention intervention ‘Cool Runnings’ – used Facebook and Instagram marketing to recruit suitable participants.

PhD Candidate, Jacquii Burgess from UQ’s Child Health Research Centre, cited the project as a great example of technology enabling researchers to streamline the clinical trials recruitment process.

“Using social media to recruit specific populations for research studies is gaining popularity. Given that mothers of young children are the most active on social media, and young children are the most at risk of preventable burn injuries, social media recruitment was used to recruit these women to a burn prevention intervention.”

 “This was a great collaboration between researchers and the expertise of technology firm iPug Pty Ltd, and to our knowledge it is the first use of social media recruitment for an injury prevention campaign,” said Ms Burgess.

“This recruitment method resulted in the rapid and cost-effective recruitment of participants with social, geographic and economic diversity that were largely representative of the population.”

With burns the fifth most common cause of non-fatal childhood injuries globally, the Cool Runnings study aimed to change the knowledge about burn risks and correct burn first aid treatment in mothers of young children.

The research article “The Adoption of Social Media to Recruit Participants: Cool Runnings Randomized Controlled Trial in Australia” is published in JMIR Research Protocols and is freely available on the Internet at JMIR Res Protoc 2017;6(10):e200.

Media: Jacquii Burgess, or +61 407 789 078.