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19 December 2012

79% of children not buckled up

“In South Africa, 250 children are killed each year because someone didn't buckle them up,” Prof Sebastian van As, President of Childsafe has said.

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“In South Africa, 250 children are killed each year because someone didn't buckle them up,” Prof Sebastian van As, Head of Red Cross Hospital (RXH) Trauma Unit and President of Childsafe has said.

Professor van As was speaking at the launch of the hospital’s Buckle Up campaign last month. He emphasized in his introduction the unacceptably high incidence of road crashes in South Africa, and that children were frequent victims of driver and parental neglect. 

He also said:

  • Road crashes claim the highest mortality in the age group 1-18 years worldwide.
  • At RXH 1011 children were treated for road traffic injuries last year
  • 89% of children were not bucked up in a 2007 RXH survey.
  • 79% of children were not bucked up in a 2012 RXH survey.

Western Cape Provincial Transport Minister Robin Carlisle, said at the event that children are amongst the most vulnerable on our roads, both as passengers and pedestrians. The Province will be gearing up enforcement and educational efforts in future to reduce the transport carnage on roads. Appropriate restraints are a crucial element in child road safety.

Minister Carlisle also said the Province is looking into:

  • Child restraint regulations that would ban shared seating and mandate the use of seatbelts, rear and forward facing child seats, and booster seats appropriate for age. Harsh penalties for non-compliance would be applied.
  • Introducing an additional offence for reckless behaviour of drivers with child passengers, such as speeding, drunk driving and cell phone use.

Minister Carlisle said legislation can play a strong role in protecting children on the roads. He added that the only way in which we can prioritize children and create a culture of buckling up is through partnerships between government and organizations like Childsafe.

(Adapted from a Childsafe newsletter)

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