More traffic accidents involving children in first nine months of the year

Children learning how to use the road at the AIG road safety education programme on Feb 2 2015.
Children learning how to use the road at the AIG road safety education programme on Feb 2 2015.ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

SINGAPORE - Traffic accidents involving children aged 12 and below have risen in the first nine months of this year.

There were 179 such accidents from January to September this year, compared with 150 in the same period last year - a 20 per cent jump.

Among the 179, there was no fatality, whereas there was one death in the cases in the nine-month period last year.

In 2014, the total number of traffic accidents involving children was 199, up from 188 the year before.

The overall number of traffic accidents has also gone up.

In the first nine months of this year, there were 6,039 cases, about 2 per cent of which were fatal, up from 5,957 in the same period last year.

"Many of these accidents are avoidable and we must do more to prevent them from happening. Awareness and public education is absolutely crucial," said Mr Desmond Lee, Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday (Nov 5).

Mr Lee was speaking at St Hilda's Primary School, where he also launched the Shell Road Safety Corner at the school in Tampines. Sponsored by Shell, the corner provides information to children and parents on good road safety practices such as identifying blind spots.

Said Mr Lee: "The Traffic Police and Singapore Road Safety Council are committed to educating our children about the dangers on the road. We will equip them with the knowledge and skills to protect themselves."

On average, about 280 children are involved in traffic accidents every year.

Last month, a six-year-old boy suffered injuries to his jaw and head after he was hit by a car in Henderson Road and spent two days in the paediatric intensive care unit at the National University Hospital. The kindergarten pupil had dashed across the road while chasing his friends and was knocked down by the car.

Mr Bernard Tay, chairman of the Singapore Road Safety Council, said that the rising numbers are a concern and that children are "very vulnerable" on the road.

"There are a lot of heavy vehicles on the road, and these huge vehicles have a lot of blind spots," he said. "Children are also more mobile now."

The road safety corner will also be rolled out in other schools, if it is proven to be successful, noted Mr Tay.

St Hilda's Primary School principal, Madam Kew Mee Ying, added: "(The corner) is not just a daily reminder for the school children, but for parents too...it's at the parents' waiting area so I would say that it would also help to educate the parents road safety rules as drivers."

limyihan@sph.com.sg