We use roads and vehicles every day without giving a second thought about it. We don’t often consider that young children might be in danger in such a familiar environment, but they are.
Young children are quick and small making them especially vulnerable around roads and vehicles.
Take every opportunity to teach children about road and vehicle safety:
- When walking down the street, hold your child’s hand, explaining on the way the choices you make to get there safely. – E.g. why you walk on the footpath, where to cross the road and what you need to do before safely crossing the road.
- Emphasise the importance of ‘buckling up’ when getting into the car and be firm that everyone in the car must always wear a seatbelt or the appropriate restraint for their size and age.
- Be a good role model, children like to imitate and copy adults. Demonstrate road safety behaviours when driving, as a passenger or a pedestrian so that children can learn good habits from you.
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Road safety statistics:
- From 2009 – 2013, 59 children aged 0-15 were seriously or fatally injured as pedestrians on South Australian roads.
- In Australia, transport related injuries are the leading cause of death and the second most common cause of hospitalisation for children aged zero to 14 years.
- Deaths from vehicle crashes remain one of the leading causes of child injury deaths in Australia.
- In South Australia, approximately 1/3 of child injury deaths per year are due to vehicle accidents (Government of SA 2007; 2008; 2009). Many more young children are injured and require hospitalisation due to vehicle related injuries.
- There has been overwhelming evidence that a combination of safer vehicle design and correct child restraint use have proven to be effective in reducing child deaths and severity of injuries. Despite this evidence, many children are not restrained in appropriate child restraints (Johnson 2009; WHO & UNICEF 2008).
- Kidsafe fitting services continue to find that 70-80% of children are travelling incorrectly restrained, putting them at 7 times greater risk of being seriously injured in the event of a crash.