Low seat belt awareness possible cause of high child fatalities

Wan Tingting
Traffic accidents lead to a quarter of the deaths of local children aged between seven and nine years, higher than the 17 percent national level, according to a recent report.
Wan Tingting

Traffic accidents lead to a quarter of the deaths of Shanghai children aged between seven and nine years, higher than the 17 percent national level, according to a recent report from the road traffic safety research center of the Ministry of Public Security.

On a national level, accidents in private vehicles are the biggest killer of children on the roads, account for 33 percent of deaths.

Children were most likely to be involved in traffic accidents on their way to and from school, whether that be in the family car or a school bus.

The report went on to state that the use of child passenger restraints in Shanghai is lower than 14 percent. 

This explains the high number of child fatalities, according to officials from Safe Kids Worldwide, a non-profitable organization which is pushing for the use of child passenger restraints in Shanghai and other leading cities across the country.

China’s lack of clear legal provisions makes public awareness of child restraints rather ambiguous. Shanghai made headway in 2014 when it suggested children under four be restrained, but it wasn't a legal requirement and is not enforced, officials said.

Parents are also unaware of the benefits of restraints specifically designed for children.

“My 7-year-old son always complains the seat belt is uncomfortable," said a mother surnamed Wei. "I think it's unnecessary to keep buying new child safety seats as he grows up, so we just put him in the back seat with the normal seat belt."

However, experts explained car seats and their seat belts are designed for adults, and that child restraints can reduce the risk of fatalities among young children by up to 80 percent.

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