Preventing road traffic injuries to children is one of the priorities at Kidsafe WA. There are still too many children presenting to the Princess Margaret Hospital Emergency Department (PMH ED) as a result of a road traffic injury. Over 1,500 children present to the PMH ED each year as a result of these injuries, which accounts for just under 10 percent of total injury presentations.
Of particular concern is the high number of children injured as pedestrians using wheeled equipment such as bicycles, scooters and skateboards. For many children using wheeled equipment it is unknown whether they are also using the appropriate safety equipment, such as helmets.
To reduce the risk of injuries whilst children use small wheel devices it is important to take the following safety measures:
- Always supervise children near traffic
- Make sure children use protective equipment such as helmets, wrist, knee and elbow guards
- Ensure children learn and practise how to use the equipment in a safe place away from roads, driveways and slopes
- Make sure the brakes and locking mechanism work before using the equipment
- Ensure children wear bright coloured clothing so that they stand out and are easy to see
Finally, it is important to teach children how to cross the road safely when on foot or using small wheel devices, so teaching children to ‘STOP, LOOK, LISTEN and THINK’!