Road safety: How to protect children from death and injury?

Child mortality on the roads in our country is 3 times higher than in Europe. What can be done to reduce it?

Photo: © / Pavel L Photo and Video /

Child passenger is at the risk group

In the period starting from October 16514 road accidents with children under 16 have been registered. 636 children died, 17691 children were injured. Terrifying numbers! However, in the recent 10 months this number decreased for 16,4% as compared to the previous year. The Head of Department of awareness of road safety and accident prevention of DDTT GUOBDD Russian Interior Ministry police Colonel Maxim Belugin provided this information.

The number of private cars is growing, from 2010 to 2014 it increased by 9 million and is not surprising that the number of children who are injured and die, as passengers of private vehicles is also increasing.

Along with speeding and violation of traffic rules by drivers, the lack of children's car seats or incorrect, unprotected device that replaces the car seat causes the danger for the child. That is why a child car seat (or, as they are called in the documents, child restraints) draw now such attention from specialists, and the press.

Of all the children who died in 10 months of this year, 361 were vehicles passengers. 57 of them were transported without any restraints and seat belts. Among the injured, 1053 children were transported with violations. Notably, that the greater part of lost children were in the age under one year. 56 babies! Russian mothers still believe that to keep the baby in the car in the hands is the most lovely thing. Alas, it is not. According to the law of physics in a collision (which is always possible on the road, even if we are very accurate), the baby is taken out of the hands of an adult with great force. Just about such a case, said Police Colonel Maxim Belugin at the conference dedicated to the Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. In the Perm region during daylight the driver of a passenger vehicle, driving experienced less than two years, in condition of snowfall drove into the oncoming lane and collided with another passenger vehicle. As a result, three passengers were killed, one of whom was a baby in the hands of his mother, who was sitting in the rear seat.

Well what can we say, except that children are hostages of our irresponsibility?!

There’s no tendency to acceleration 

—  It is considered that child restraints are only for small children - says Deputy Chairman of the RF State Duma Committee on Family, Women and Children Olga Krasilnikova. - And now more widely believed that today's children are early developers, which are much earlier than 12 years of growth reach 150 cm, which allows them to ride in a car without child restraints or booster, but only strapped with a regular seat belt. In fact, the majority of Russian children grow up to 150 cm only at the age of 12 years. According to the Institute of pediatrics of Scientific Center of Children's Health, only 3% of girls of 10 years are 151 cm height and 3% of boys of 10 years reach 149.2 cm.

The standard belts in the vehicle are designed for adults. If the child has not attained adult height, sits with no restraints or booster and is fastened with a standard seat belt, then his neck will be injured in case of the road accident. 

It’s time to make things right

Thus, children under 12 years old and shorter than 150 cm should sit in the car in either a child restraint or booster and be fastened. However, what child restraints are sold in the market? Are they all of the quality that can protect the child in case of an accident.

- We conducted a study of child restraints in the markets of Russia, - says the adviser of the chairman of the Russian Red Cross Lily Chibisenkova. - To analyze the 562 devices in 131 outlets of 28 cities. It turned out that 32% of parents buy adapters - "harness" of the belt that holds the child in the seat. The adapter is 10 times cheaper than a quality restraint, but does not protect the child from injury and death, and actually is not a child restraint device according to the norms of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.


UNECE deals with the road safety and, based on numerous international and independent of each other research develops regulations and standards that we have to follow, because our country along with others signed the Geneva Agreement on common requirements to the equipment that can be set on vehicles. Nevertheless, there’s a mess in our market. One-third of parents use adapters that are not legitimate child restraints. Only 34% of parents - is also a third - know that adapters will not protect the child in case of an accident. (And experts say that they still will cause him injury!) Almost 80% of the tested by Red Cross child restraints had no certificate of conformity! 4 of 5 sold child restraints devices did not meet the requirements of the UNECE and the Technical Regulations of the Customs Union "On the safety of wheeled vehicles".

That is why it’s high time to make things right.

The question is still open

But this will not be easy. It is necessary to make some changes in the legislation; find out who is authorized to issue certificates of conformity for child restraints devices; who will conduct testing of child restraints devices for durability and safety. Speaking about our country, according to the deputy head of the department of vehicle safety of Testing centre FSUE "NAMI" Anton Zhuravlev, the ejector for testing vehicles seats and expensive mannequins equipped with electronics, there are only in NAMI and at the factory in Togliatti.

The market is in full of Chinese child restraints that are cheaper, but were not tested neither in our country nor in Europe and do not meet the standards of the UNECE, and are not obliged to confirm them, because China has not signed the Geneva Agreement. Nevertheless, are these child restraints durable?

In 2011-2014 NAMI tested 59 devices that were sold at retail as a child restraint device. 46 of them for various reasons did not pass the test requirements of the UNECE. 28 out of 59 (almost half!) Were not able to protect the child in case of an accident. However, all these child restraint devices had the certificates of conformity, it is not clear by whom and on what basis they were issued. Now it becomes clear why the traffic police reports read that about 4/5 of the children who died in the accident were passengers in certain child restraint devices. But in what?

It’s important

Always use child restraint devices for transporting children, starting with the delivery of the baby from the maternity home to the time when the child reaches the height of 150 cm, and will safely use regular seat belts. When buying     child restraint devices demand a certificate confirming compliance with the requirements of UNECE Regulation No. 44 and No. 129. Taking into consideration the large number of illegal certificates, which are issued without carrying out the tests, try to pay attention to the manufacturer: the following countries can be considered having a high degree of reliability: Germany, France , England, and the rest domestic producers which obtain a European certificate of conformity. High-quality child restraint devices can not be cheaper than 5000 rubles.

Learn playing

President of fund Elena Oleshko says:

- Children learn proper behavior on the example of their parents. If we want them to know how to safely cross the road, let's start with the fact that we will not violate the rules for yourself:

  • will not cross the road in the wrong place, especially when the children are with us;
  • will not cross the road at red lights even by "zebra";
  • before you set your foot on the crosswalk, make sure that all vehicles have stopped. The driver may be distracted, the car brakes may fail when braking on a slippery road, the car may incur direct to us out of inertia ...

Explain to children all these reasons, when you go along the street.

Together with experts, the non-commercial enterprise "Union of driving schools" we have developed several training games for children of preschool and school age. Parents can take them on board.

When you go with your child to kindergarten or to school, play with him in the "guessing game": ask for signs that you see on the way, what are they for? What can talk markings on the road? Let your child make a mistake or tell stories when he runs out options, explain the real meaning of signs encountered.

Before allowing your child to go to school, to the store by himself, draw him his way, noting crossings, traffic lights, "zebra" and other signs

Teach your child to make decisions independently. Often, when someone from the crowd standing at the crosswalk, begins to run across the street at a red light, some people succumbing to the herd instinct, run at the red after them. Standing near a pedestrian crossing, note the child the behavior of others. Ask what to do when someone runs across the roadway at the red light. How to behave properly?

Text: Marina Matveeva