Croatia: road safety education initiative for parents

Published Mon, 06/02/2017 - 13:30

Children, as they are not fully physically developed, are the most vulnerable road users, especially in the role of pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicle passengers. Ensuring safety of every child during transportation in a personal vehicle, from the first day, should be a responsibility of every parent.

In the course of implementation of prevention activities aimed at child safety and during road checks, it was observed that parents are not sufficiently aware of the importance of correct use of child restraint systems. At the same time, when purchasing the child restraint, they were not instructed on correct installation of the child restraint and how to properly secure the child in the restraint. Studies so far have shown that 70% to 80% of child restraints are not used correctly, and in Croatia the rate of incorrect use is around 90%. This in spite of the research that shows that correct use of child restraints reduces the risk of injury up to 90% or more.

The consequence of inadequate education about risks to children as passengers is that children are being transported unsafely and not in accordance to the provisions in the law, resulting in serious injuries to youngest road users.

At the initiative of the Koprivnica-Krizevci Police Department’s Traffic Safety Section, the Safe Transportation of Children in Vehicles prevention initiative was introduced in October of 2014. Its aim is to educate parents about the importance of use of safety belts and correct use of child restraint systems in order to reduce the number of children injured as passengers in road collisions and to improve overall road safety. This initiative is being implemented in collaboration with the Road Safety Council of the Koprivnica-Krizevci County, company BeSafe and the association Parents in Action - RODA.

The initiative included numerous educational presentations in preschool and day care centres, reaching more than 500 children. Also as part of the initiative, a number of car seat clinics were organised at which 48 child restraints were checked for correct use, with results showing 70% of them were used incorrectly. In addition, presentations were given at prenatal classes at the Koprivnica General Hospital, reaching more than 150 pregnant women and their partners.

Furthermore, information was shared with parents through a number of info-booths in Koprivnica, Đurđevac and Križevci and through presentations at the Koprivnica General Hospital maternity ward, baby-fitness program at the city pool Cerina in Koprivnica, parent information sessions at schools and at the Đurđevac City Library. Additionally, more than 500 Car Seat – Always and Without Exception information brochures by association RODA were distributed, as well as 1,500 Child in the Car vehicle stickers.  

The quality of the implementation of the activities within this prevention initiative was recognised through the award received at the 8th Safe Cities Regional Conference in 2016. The initiative was awarded 2nd place in the Best Local Community Safety Project category.