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Education important in preventing child pedestrian deaths- IMJ study

The IMJ study reviewing pedestrian deaths in children reveals that the highest proportion of deaths (53 per cent) occurred in this age group.

Injury from road traffic incidents is a leading cause of child deaths worldwide. In Ireland, progress has been made in decreasing child road- related deaths and injuries in recent years; the number of paediatric pedestrian fatalities reduced by 50 per cent between the timescales 1996-2000 and 2004-2010.

The authors of the study assert that child pedestrian fatalities are highly preventable through the modification of risk factors including behavioural, social and environmental. Preventative action needs to be addressed, particularly in relation to non-traffic related deaths i.e. low speed vehicle rollovers.

“In preventing pedestrian injuries and deaths, one important measure is school road-safety programmes,” write the authors.

“Although such interventions may improve children’s knowledge, this does not necessarily translate into better road crossing behaviours.

“Furthermore, education programmes may be unreliable as they can be overly dependent on the individual teacher delivering them. Thus the development of better education programmes that effectively alter crossing behaviour remains essential.

“Simple knowledge, such as appropriate crossing location, has a big impact on injury severity and is amenable to classroom learning.”

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