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Raising awareness of need for child helmets

Resource type: News

Vietnam News Service |

Original Source NHA TRANG – The Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIP Foundation) organized a concert promoting the Helmet for Kids (HFK) campaign in Nha Trang City on Monday, sending out the message “Put a Helmet on your Child”. The HFK proceedings were dedicated in honor of Le Xuan Han who died 4 months ago at the age of 8. Her picture was present at the concert as a reminder to the audience of how tragedy can strike when a child’s basic safety needs are not met. Han had talked of going to med school so she could devote her life to saving other people’s lives. “We have internal reports that show that parents are more likely than the general public to fail to put helmets on their children,” said Mirjam Sidik, Executive Director of the AIP Foundation. “This is an extremely disturbing trend. In HCM City, for example, parents are 10 per cent less likely to put a helmet on a child than someone who doesn’t have any children of their own.” “While adult compliance to Viet Nam’s helmet laws is excellent, a loophole exists for children under 14. Our children are being forgotten. Many programmes tell us that helmets save lives, but few campaigns explicitly present the dangers of letting children on motorbikes sans helmet.” “Like a war, traffic accidents are killing and maiming youths … every day,” wrote Desmond Tutu, Archbishop of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, in a letter to Viet Nam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. The letter was written to congratulate Viet Nam for co-sponsoring an historic United Nations resolution on improving global road safety and implementing the helmet law on December 15th 2007. Echoing the concerns of the AIP Foundation, UNICEF and WHO, Archbishop Tutu called for further measures that would require children to wear helmets as well. “I am aware that a misunderstanding has apparently arisen over enforcement of helmet wearing by children aged 14 and under, and the ensuing public misper-ception has resulted in a rapid decline in the number of children wearing protective helmets while riding on motorcycles. I am sad to learn that up to twelve Vietnamese children are dying every day as a result, and many more suffer traumatic brain injury,” he wrote. The concert was just one part of AIP’s larger mission to increase public awareness of child road safety. Last Friday AIP and the Viet Nam Helmet Wearing Coalition (VHWC), a co-sponsor of the concert, gave out 370 helmets to children at March 3 Kindergarten in Nha Trang. “One of the reasons that parents are not buying helmets is because they can’t afford one, almost 10 per cent of people say children should not wear helmets because they are too expensive. The HFK events are held to help alleviate the burden among working families,” said Neo Chee Cheong, Viet Nam Chief Representative of Michelin Asia (Singapore). – VNS

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