Road safety hazards for children while commuting to school: Findings from a pilot study in Karachi, Pakistan

Asrar Ali, Shafiqa Mehry, Ahmed Raheem, Junaid Bhatti, Uzma Rahim Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Road traffic injuries are a leading cause of mortality and morbidity among children. Travelling to and from school is a major risk exposure for children around the globe. Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess road traffic injury hazards for school children during dropp-off or picked-up times. Methods: This observational cross-sectional study included 94 public and private schools in Karachi, Pakistan. A structured observational tool was used to collect data on school demographics, the road traffic environment, infrastructure, injury hazards in vehicles used by school children, and child pedestrian injury risk and road use behaviors. Results: A total of 860 observations of school children, drivers of vehicles transporting children, schools, and vehicles were recorded. Most schools (n = 83, 88%) did not have designated parking spaces around the school; only one public school had a parking area. Only one private school had a zebra crossing around the school premises. Very few schools (n = 13, 14%), mostly private (n = 12) had pedestrian sidewalks. Only 35 (18%) adult motorcyclists, out of 199, were wearing a helmet, and eight (6%), out of 145, car passengers were wearing seatbelts. Compressed natural gas (CNG) cylinders were installed in 83 (35%), out of 235, observed vehicles. The remaining 152 (65%) did not have CNG cylinders or they were not visible to our data collectors. In 55 (23%) observations, bus passengers stepped off the bus in the middle of the road. Most pedestrians (n = 266, 99.5%) did not use a Zebra crossing. More than a quarter (n = 74, 28%) of pedestrians looked left and right before crossing the road. Conclusion: While traveling to school, either by walking or taking vehicular trips, children face many road traffic injury hazards in Karachi. Pedestrians and passengers exhibited risky behaviors while using roads. Further initiatives are advised from a public health viewpoint aiming at minimizing transport-related hazards.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110475
JournalInjury
Volume54
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Keywords

  • Childhood injury
  • Karachi
  • Pakistan
  • Road traffic injury
  • School injury

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