KAJANG: The country loses 1,000 children on average every year from road accidents, according to police statistics.
Universiti Putra Malaysia Safe Kids Malaysia executive director Assoc Prof Dr Kulanthayan K.C. Mani said only 3% of children wear the right size standard child helmet when riding motorbikes and 37% of them use adult helmets which does not give them protection in a crash.
“We have another 36% of children who use plastic or toy helmets – we are worried that there are more kids using such helmets,” he told reporters at the Motorcycle Child Helmet Initiative programme at SJK(C) Sungai Chua, Kajang.
The unhealthy road safety practice does not stop there as Dr Kulanthayan said at least 24% of children do not use helmets while riding motorcycles.
“These are children aged 12 years and below,” he said.
According to the same statistic, there is also one new road crash reported every minute and 533,875 in 2017.
“Motorcyclists are the biggest group of road users affected in road deaths, amounting to 64.5%.
“From the 2017 figure provided by PDRM, between 56.4% and 86% are deaths due to head injuries,” he added.
The Motorcycle Child Helmet Initiative programme by the varsity is a result of a survey conducted on SJK(C) Sungai Chua’s parents and pupils’ road safety practices.
“We did a survey for about three months and we found at least 63 parents who fell into the groups mentioned above; some gave their kids plastic helmets to wear, some gave them adult-sized helmets and some children had no helmet on.
“So we called these parents to come and listen to our talk during the programme and we made them sign pledges.
“Their children also took an oath that they will always wear safety helmets when travelling by motorcycle.
“We hope they will change their practices. Don’t wear to fulfil enforcement needs, wear for safety purposes,” Dr Kulanthayan said.
All 63 parents were provided with free safety helmets for their children at the end of the programme.
Schools also play an important role to remind its pupils on the importance of using a safety helmet, he added.
“Once we start instilling its importance from young, (it will) become a culture,” he said.
The programmes partners are Road Safety Department of Malaysia and Selangor, Malaysian Civil Defence Force, the police, Safe Kids Worldwide USA and Halliburton Charitable Foundation USA.
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