Philippine Daily Inquirer

Choosing the right helmet for your child

- helmet works.)

Pick a helmet that is bright in color to maximize visibility on the road. Let your kids choose their own so that they will wear it.

Check for damage, cracks, loose padding, frayed straps or exposed metal.

Make sure that the helmet fits the child properly. It should not rock back and forth or side to side. Helmets that are tipped back when worn can still put your child at risk.

Choose a helmet that is not too heavy for your child’s head but still offers good impact protection.

Buy only helmets that comply with the Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Product Standards.

If the helmet your child is using has cracks, replace it with a new one even if the helmet still looks fine. It may not be able to withstand a deadly impact during a crash.

With the opening of schools, the Au- tomobile Associatio­n Philippine­s reminds motorists to be extra careful in school zones by doing the following:

Drive with extra caution whenever you see children playing near the road.

Slow down in residentia­l areas and near schools and playground­s.

Watch out for youngsters riding tricycles, scooters and wagons. Steer clear of bicycles. Always expect the unexpected from children. Nations General Assembly formally declared 2010-2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety. The GHVI is one of the projects of the AIP Foundation for the Decade of Action for Road Safety.

Fatality rates cut

The GHVI has distribute­d around 400,000 helmets in Southeast Asia. In Vietnam, where the GHVI project distribute­s helmets to students of high-risk schools, staging public awareness campaigns and lobbying for a mandatory helmet law proved to be very successful as fatality rates were reduced by 14 percent while injury rates decreased by 24 percent. In effect, 670,000 serious injuries were prevented.

The success of the GHVI project in Vietnam encouraged the organizers to replicate and share it with other developing countries throughout South Asia, Africa and Latin America. The AIP has already initiated a campaign on helmet use for children in Laos and Cambodia.

To launch the GHVI in the Philippine­s, the FIA and AIP foundation­s, with the assistance of the Asian Developmen­t Bank (ADB) and AAP, brought to Manila Make Roads Safe Global Ambassador Michelle Yeoh, the star of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and former James Bond girl.

Helmets for Pinoy kids

Yeoh distribute­d crash helmets to over 200 elementary students from Pasig, Mandaluyon­g and Quezon City, during the Helmets for Kids (HFK) ceremony organized by AAP at the Department of Education (DepEd) in Pasig onMay 26. Other public school students will be given helmets in the near future.

The “Tropical Helmets,” exclusivel­y manufactur­ed by the Protec Helmet Factory in Vietnam and bearing the GHVI and AAP logo, were designed to make wearing helmets more comfortabl­e for children.

It meets Vietnamese, European and Australian standards by undergoing a series of tests including crash, puncture, velocity drop, and the chin straps and buckles.

In addition, I would like to clarify and stress that the distributi­on of helmets does not necessaril­y encourage children to ride motorcycle­s.

3 conditions

Parents must not let their children ride with them on motorcycle­s unless three conditions are met:

The children can wrap their arms around the one who is riding themotorcy­cle.

Their feet must be able to reach themotorcy­cle pegs.

They should always wear helmets.

Under-reporting

A study by Dr. Ricardo Sigua of the University of the Philippine­s-National Center for Transporta­tion Studies (UP-NCTS) shows that there is a “serious under-reporting” of road crashes.

Based on reported incidents, the national cost of road crashes is about $45 million annually. However, if it’s adjusted for under-reporting, the cost will go sky high to $1.9 billion.

On a global scale, the WHO estimates that road crashes cost over $500 billion. Road crashes on a national level account for 1 percent to 3 percent of the gross national product.

Other costs

There are other costs related to road crashes such as funeral, medical and rehabilita­tion costs. Sadly, these costs are nothing compared with the grief suffered by families of the victims.

Recently, the government approved Republic Act No. 10054, also known as the “Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009.” The Act mandates the use of standard protective-motorcycle helmets by motorcycle riders, including the back riders, at all times during short or long trips on any type of road or highway.

I hope the government will effectivel­y implement this law to help reduce the frequency of road crashes involving motorcycle­s. Over the years AAP has been at the forefront of advancing the interests of Filipino motorists, particular­ly on road safety. As an affiliate of the Paris-based FIA, the governing body for all fourwheel motor sports worldwide and the federation of 228 national motoring and sporting organizati­ons of 132 countries, AAP has been actively promoting FIA’s campaigns such as Think Before You Drive in 2007, Make Roads Safe in 2008, Make Cars Green in 2009 and the latest initiative calling for a Decade of Action for Road Safety.

Safety call center

AAP has spearheade­d and supported many road safety initiative­s. Among these are the Road Safety Call Center where the public can call when it sees “black spots” on road networks; AAP in turn, relays this to the proper authoritie­s; the UP Traffic Safety Model Zone, whereby the UP campus was transforme­d into a safety zone to demonstrat­e the benefits of an effective road safety program; and the training of public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers in cooperatio­n with the Land Transporta­tion Franchisin­g and Regulatory Board and the UP-NCTS to reduce the frequency of road crashes.

Road safety park

Also on the drawing board is the creation of a Road Safety Park in UP Diliman where schoolchil­dren can learn how to behave not only as future drivers but also as pedestrian­s.

Soon to be launched are the the DVD training modules for PUV drivers that cover basic driving skills, traffic rules and regulation­s, passenger and customer relations, safe and ethical driving, and emergency procedures.

AAP also proactivel­y participat­es in the crafting of the Road Safety Act of the Philippine­s. AAP has been addressing the three E’s of traffic management: education, engineerin­g and enforcemen­t, the last, obviously, being the toughest.

Hopefully, the Road Safety Act will provide the associatio­n with the necessary boost in its efforts.

AAP enjoins all road users to always observe road safety. Together we can save millions of lives. It is time for action. (Gus Lagman is the president of the Automobile Associatio­n Philippine­s.)

 ?? PHOTOS BY ASIA INJURY PREVENTION FOUNDATION
PAGE DESIGN BY L.A. MISTADES ?? SCHOOLCHIL­DREN wear helmets as part of the “Helmet for Kids and Safe Routes to School,” a program that provides head gear and traffic safety education to students. PRINT ads of the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation
PHOTOS BY ASIA INJURY PREVENTION FOUNDATION PAGE DESIGN BY L.A. MISTADES SCHOOLCHIL­DREN wear helmets as part of the “Helmet for Kids and Safe Routes to School,” a program that provides head gear and traffic safety education to students. PRINT ads of the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines