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Parents’ knowledge of car safety and practices amongst school children in an urban community of Lagos, Nigeria

Tolulope F. Olufunlayo
Adekemi O. Sekoni
Lynne E. Bilston
Olanrewaju Onigbogi


No fewer than 1.2 million deaths globally are attributed to road traffic crashes yearly, with low- and middleincome countries contributing disproportionately to these deaths. Children are a vulnerable road user group, and riding unrestrained is a significant risk factor for death and injury among child car passengers. This study
aimed to determine child car safety knowledge and practices among parents of children attending a private school in an urban setting in Lagos, Nigeria. A descriptive study, using observations of child car safety practices, and a survey of parental knowledge and attitudes of child car safety, were conducted simultaneously amongst children 0-10 years riding in cars to school. Data was analysed using Epi Info Version 3.5.1. A total of 127 cars were observed as children were being dropped off at school. The proportion of child passengers aged 0 - 10 years restrained by any device was 6.3%, with only 2.4% of these children being appropriately restrained for age; 19.7% of observed child passengers rode in the front seat. Awareness of car safety seats among parents was high at 85%. However, less than 40% of respondents knew the correct age to commence use of child restraints, seat belts, or front seating. The reason most cited for non-use of child restraints was unavailability (24.1%). Despite the high level of awareness about car safety seats, parental knowledge of specific child passenger safety issues and practices were poor. Targeted interventions are needed to bridge the gap between awareness, knowledge and practice in this population.

Keywords: child, motor vehicle passenger, car restraints, adults, knowledge and attitude, road safety