Road crashes are a major cause of death and injuries for children in South Africa
Road traffic collisions are a leading cause of death and injuries for children under the age of 14 in South Africa.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) hosted a webinar today on child restraints under the theme “Buckle Them Up”. This was part of October Transport month activities.
The webinar, attended by motor industry, short term insurance, non-governmental and public sector representatives, was told that 1 017 children died on South African roads last year.
The Manager for data analysis and reporting at RTMC, Ms. Magadi Gainewe, said “child deaths constituted eight percent of the total number of road traffic fatalities in the country in 2019. Ms. Gainewe said the majority of children died when they collided with vehicles while walking in the streets and others were ejected when vehicles overturned”.
The provinces of KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng, Eastern Cape were responsible for 52 percent of child death on the roads.
Ms. Yolande Baker from Child Safe, said, for every child that died as a result of road crashes, 45 were injured.
“When South Africa losses 1 000 children a year; over 45 000 are hospitalized,” said Ms Baker.
She said the severity of injuries varied depending on age and whether a protective device was used. Child survivors of road crashes were often treated for head, neck, chest and abdominal injuries.
Children developed disabilities as a result of road crashes. These disabilities can retard children’s progress in early years depriving them of education and social development.
They can also develop post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, anxiety and flashbacks.
Experts agreed that child restraints and child seats were the most important method to prevent child injuries and fatalities in transport crashes.
Ms. Peggy Mars, from Wheels Well, pointed out that; car seats were designed to keep children safe. She said car seats and restraints can reduce child deaths by 71% and injuries by 67% if properly used.
“The reason of fatality for children in frontal impacts is that they are not correctly restrained,” said Ms. Mars. “Thirty two percent of cases studied were unrestrained and 23 percent used an inappropriate and/or a misused restraint system,” she said.
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