The Road Traffic Safety Agency has a role to initiate and carry out activities to raise the consciousness of people on the importance of restraint system use inside vehicles – safety belts and child restraint systems. In this respect, the Agency has started the campaign aimed at increasing the use of restraint systems inside vehicles. Importance and timing of the campaign is justified by the facts on risk factors and child casualties as passengers inside vehicles.
In the previous three years, 35 children were killed and 4,469 were injured in road accidents in the Republic of Serbia. Namely, in average, every fiftieth fatality in road accidents is a child. The thing to be emphasized is that in the last three years, children mostly suffer as passengers in vehicles (54%), than as pedestrians (34%) and finally as cyclists (12%), and in the last, the year 2015, up to 71% of children were killed in road accidents (almost three quarters) were passengers in vehicles.
High share of child fatalities as passengers in vehicles within the the total number of child fatalities in traffic is directly related to the the (non-) use of child restraint systems in vehicles – child seats and safety belts. In the territory of Serbia, the use of child restraint systems is below 30%, which means that less than the third children are transported in correct and safe way.
Improving the children’s safety has been recognized as one of strategic goals of the national strategy for road traffic safety in the Republic of Serbia. The goal defined by the Strategy is to have zero children killed on the roads of the Republic of Serbia. It can be reached, among all, by transporting all passengers in vehicles correctly, by using appropriate restraint systems.
In regard to the bodily characteristics of children, by the time they reach 36 kg and/or height of 150 cm, they should be transported in a suitable car seat. Besides being adapted to the child’s mass, The child seat must be approved, that is in accordance with the safety standards. Besides that, it is important to have the child seat properly installed in the car, and that the child is properly fastened in the seat. The belts should go over the clavicle bone of the child and the child’s ilium, and never over the stomach or over the child’s head.
For reaching the goal of zero child fatalities in traffic, besides the Agency, it is necessary to involve the parents and teachers in kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, local self-governments, healthcare workers, the police, the media and all institutions dealing with road safety.