Round table on child road users’ safety was held in Moscow
A round table on child safety and the outcomes of the All-Russia “Child Seat to Children” and “Walk of life” social campaigns, which were focused on prevention of road accidents involving child-passengers and child-pedestrians, took place 17 december in the Children's city clinical hospital №9 named after G.N. Speransky, Moscow. The forum was attended by Mr. Victor Nilov, lieutenant general of police, Head of the Road Traffic Safety Department at the Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation; Mr. Vladimir Rozinov, Chief pediatric surgeon at the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation; Mr. Pavel Bunin, president of the Russian Association of Motor Insurers (RAMI); Mr. Konstantin Abramov, first deputy director-general of the All-Russian Center for Public Opinion Research; Mr. Anatoly Korsunsky, medical superintendent of the Children's city clinical hospital №9 and Mrs. Natalia Agre, president of the “Road Safety Russia” NGO.
In her opening speech Mrs. Natalia Agre informed that both All-Russia “Child Seat to Children” and “Walk of life!” social events were aimed to ensure the safety of child road users. During the campaigns various special actions were carried out in 20 regions including the Chuvash Republic, Republic of Mordovia, Republic of Tatarstan, the Krasnodar, Stavropol, Leningrad, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Novosibirsk, Kemerovo, Bryansk, Orel, Penza, Nizhni Novgorod, Ulyanovsk, Belgorod, Kursk, Moscow Regions, Saint-Petersburg and the Moscow city. The key objectives were to introduce safe road behaviour to children from tender age and to convince parents that they are the ones who set examples for their kids. That’s why it’s essential for every adult to observe road traffic rules, especially in the presence of a child, use special restraints for transporting children under 12, use seat belts and cross roads only over pedestrian crossings on green traffic light.
During the debates Mrs. N. Agre introduced a number of initiatives which, in her opinion, can improve the safety of children on roads. In particular, the Road Traffic Safety Department along with the Ministry of Health is preparing an instructional film for future mothers on how to use infant bucket seats and child seats for child transportation in cars. It will be broadcast in all maternity homes and perinatal centers to foster the parents’ habit of transporting children only in a car seat. Besides, in the near future a child car seat may be added to the list of necessary things for a newborn as a recommendation. The respective document is now being worked out.
Furthermore, Mrs. Agre spoke out that the penalty for non-use of child car seats should be raised up to 5000 roubles for this sum is comparable to the price of the seat. “We’ve carried out a study and found out that sometimes mothers are simply unaware of such safety device as a child car seat, - noted Natalia Agre. - We feel assured that if the penalty for non-use of child restraints is toughened and mothers start to fasten kids in cars these children will become not only active and healthy citizens but responsible and safe road users as well. And the current situation on our roads reflects the level of culture first of all”.
The speakers agreed that the use of child car seats for child transportation should be mandatory. Mr. Vladimir Rozinov, Chief pediatric surgeon at the Ministry of Health, pointed out that road accidents with the most severe consequences occur on federal highways - its gravity is 2.5 - 4 times higher than on other roads. That’s why the use of child seats is an absolute necessity. To his mind, it’s totally inadmissible to hold babies and elder kids in arms whilst carrying them in a car because it doesn’t guarantee their safety, on the contrary, it can lead to tragic consequences. Whereas the anatomic structure of a child car seat is not hazardous even to a newborn and it can save kid’s life and health in case of a road crash.
Mr. Anatoly Korsunsky, medical superintendent at the Children's city clinical hospital №9, supported his colleague because children injured in road accidents are often brought to his clinic. In most cases the blame is to be laid on careless parents who didn’t get around to purchasing a child car seat.
Mr. Pavel Bunin, president of the RAMI, explained why the issue of child restraints is so close to his Association. “For many years we’ve been addressing the problem of road safety in cooperation with the Road Traffic Safety Department and the “Road Safety Russia” non-governmental organization. Vehicle insurance is directly related to road safety. It’s clear that child-passengers are the most vulnerable among other road users and they can sustain heavy injuries even in minor road incidents. So we must jointly make it transparent to every driver. It is evident that penalties for traffic offences and personal responsibility of drivers are necessary but without advocating we won’t be able to deliver this message. Therefore we should repeat dozen and hundred times that the use of a child car seat is vital. And each parent should understand: first goes safety then - a New year gift”.
Pursuing the debates on child safety Mr. Konstantin Abramov, first deputy director-general of the All-Russian Center for Public Opinion Research, cited the following statistics data on retroreflective elements: according to sociologic studies 90% of the respondents support the introduction of such components for child clothing, 71 % - consider it appropriate for adult road users as well and 81 % - stand for the introduction of retroreflective jackets.
Summing up the meeting general V.Nilov, Chief Road Traffic Safety Department of the Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation, marked that many initiatives to enhance child safety had been put forward. Some of them were quite reasonable, for instance, toughening the penalty for non-use of child car seats or obligatory use of retroreflective jackets by drivers. Other recommendations require further elaboration. Mr Nilov emphasized once again that at large the safety of every road user primarily depends on the personal perception of proper road behaviour and the will to comply with road traffic rules.
“When I get a daily report in the morning first of all I take notice of the number of children involved in road accidents and “zero” child road victims really invigorates. For the last few days we’ve seen quite good results. “Together we can save millions of lives” is the right motto and it defines a lot. For the last several years our work has been based on close interaction with all stakeholders who can affect the road situation”, - accented Mr. Nilov.