In developing countries, this level of mortality is tripled, which makes it more than clear the road we go down to guarantee the safety of our children when around roads or when travelling in vehicle.
Statistics show us that, globally; child victims are principally pedestrians, or passengers in a vehicle, which simply means that children are victims of their own circumstances and their environment since they are not sufficiently developed to be “active” victims. In Portugal (second diagram), although the percentages don’t vary very much, certain differences can be observed.
How we must work to ensure that children are safe on the roads
This is a job in which every part of society must be involved. If children are vulnerable due to their character, it is adults that that must take action to make sure they are protected. We are going to summarize the most effective strategies to combat child deaths:
1. Suitable speed limits for the type of road, focusing on maximum speed limits on roads where there are high levels of pedestrians. These speed limits can be strictly controlled by automatic systems.
2. Strict regulation of alcohol consumption by carrying out routine Breathalyzer tests. Legislation on the minimum age that alcohol may be purchased and a limit on advertising that may influence young must be a real option.
3. Enforce the use of crash helmets for both motor cyclists and cyclists alike, particularly for children. Clear legislation on this together with price controls to make helmets much more accessible to everyone.
4. Reinforce the legislation on child restraining systems, promoting the use of approved CRS’s and making sure that a system adequate for the size and weight of each child is easily available.
5. Work to make children more visible, using simple methods: dress in bright colors, wear caps or carry a schoolbag with reflectors, make sure school transport is properly organized, fit reflectors on bicycles and indirectly, regulate, so that vehicles use their lights during the day.
6. Segregate traffic, introduce elements to reduce the average speed of vehicles (roundabouts, speed bumps etc.)
7. Establish traffic free zones.
8. Invest in safe and accessible public transport.
9. Make sure emergency vehicles carry equipment suitable for children (a problem shared with other countries).
10. Train teachers and parents in first aid.
These strategies can make a positive contribution to a progressive reduction in child mortality because they involve the whole of society in this problem, in an attempt to make everyone, parents, teachers, child minders etc. part of the solution by educating and protecting children.