Children Road Accidents in Singapore Linked with Low Usage of Child Car Seats and Restraints
Child car seats and restraints can help prevent life-threatening injuries in Singapore, says Dr Chong Shu-Ling, Staff Physician from the Department of Emergency Medicine at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH).
KKH sees approximately 400 children with injuries from road accidents per year
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) sees approximately 400 children with injuries from road accidents per year, and the number has stayed more or less the same over the years. For
Dr Chong Shu-Ling, Staff Physician,
Department of Emergency Medicine,
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the
SingHealth group, one injury is one too many.
“There needs to be increased awareness of road traffic injuries among children so that parents and caregivers can do more to prevent these unfortunate and preventable incidents from happening,” says Dr Chong, who has recently received the 2017 Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Welfare Foundation Research Grant.
Dr Chong will be embarking on a qualitative study that aims to better understand what parents know and believe on the use (or the lack of use) of child car seats and restraints, so as to facilitate future injury prevention initiatives. The new research will build on a
previous KKH-led study that looked at the use of child car seats among injured children brought into two emergency departments after a road accident.
The earlier study revealed substantially low compliance with the use of appropriate child car seats and restraints for motor vehicles and two-wheelers in Singapore, as compared to other high-income countries.
“What is even more worrisome is the disregard for safety recommendations even from early infancy,” adds Dr Chong.
Dangers of not using appropriate child car seats and restraints
Children without child car seats and restraints who are involved in road accidents may suffer from life-threatening or limb-threatening injuries. Specifically, they may sustain soft tissue injuries to the muscles, ligaments and tendons, injuries to extremities such as fingers and toes, injuries to the head or face, as well as injuries to other sites such as chest, abdomen, and spine. In the worst possible scenario, the child may die from the injuries sustained.
Are parents aware of the dangers of not using appropriate child car seats and restraints?
Most parents are aware of the potential risks, but may not actually install child car seats. One known fallacy is that such events only happen to “other people” and not to oneself. In some instances, the adults accompanying these children may believe that as experienced drivers with good driving skills, they are unlikely to be involved in a road accident. Some may believe that the distance they plan to cover is short, or the roads are familiar.
Some adults may not use appropriate child car seats and restraints as they may have experienced resistance or crankiness from the child when restrained, while some others may want to avoid incurring the cost, believing that it may not be necessary to use or buy a car seat that the baby will outgrow soon.
See next page for the
best baby and child car seats by age.