Advice to help keep children safe in traffic

Somila Nguta, 9, is recovering at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital after she was hit by a car while crossing the road. Pedestrians make up most of the vehicle-related trauma cases seen at the hospital.

Pedestrians make up 70% of the vehicle-related trauma cases seen at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

The hospital, which marked World Trauma Day on Saturday October 17, says 552 of the 771 transport-related trauma cases it saw last year were motor vehicle accidents with pedestrians and from 2015 until August 2020 the figure stands at 3 850.

According to ChildSafe, an injury-prevention unit based at the hospital, there are several things the public can do to stop children being knocked over by cars:

Teach children to choose a play area that’s away from traffic.

Always supervise young children when near a road.

Always hold children’s hands while near moving vehicles.

Keep children safe on the pavement before crossing the street.

Teach children to look right, look left and right again, to check for traffic before crossing the road.

Teach children to always cross at a marked crossing.

If there is no pavement, teach children to walk facing traffic so they can see oncoming vehicles.

Dress children in brightly coloured clothing with reflective strips so they are visible to drivers.

If you are driving a vehicle, make sure you follow these safety tips:

Always keep to the speed limit – the faster you drive, the longer it will take to bring your vehicle to a stop.

Make sure everyone in the vehicle wears a safety belt.

Make sure young children are fastened in the correct size child safety seat.

Do not drive if you are tired.

Take regular breaks when driving long distances.

Do not drive if you consumed alcohol or drugs.

Slow down when you see pedestrians next to the road.

Do not take chances on the road because you are in a hurry.

Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy and check the tyres, brakes, headlights, and wipers before going on the road.