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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


FERREIRA, Y  and  VAN AS, A B. Promote buckling up and save a child's life. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2017, vol.107, n.4, pp.292-294. ISSN 2078-5135.

Road traffic crash (RTC) injuries are the leading cause of child mortality and morbidity in South Africa for children between the ages of 1 and 18 years. The World Health Organization's Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015 rated the African continent's roads the world's most dangerous. After pedestrian injuries, passenger injuries are the most lethal. There is no doubt that a seat belt is the single most effective feature in a vehicle to reduce the severity of injury to the vehicle's occupants; wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury by up to 50% and 75% for front seat and rear seat occupants, respectively. Children have specific anatomical and physiological limitations that render them more vulnerable to serious injury, but the prevention of childhood RTC injuries has unfortunately not received the deserved attention by the medical fraternity. There is currently ample evidence that the use of seat belts and appropriate child restraint seats has led to a significant reduction in RTC fatalities and injuries. It is, therefore, the duty of every healthcare worker to lead by example by using child restraints correctly, and actively encouraging the use of these devices for all their clients and patients.

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