Image from Recent Helmet Handover
As the Tet holiday (Lunar New Year) approaches in Vietnam, the road safety situation is of critical importance. Traffic accidents spike around the lunar new year; traffic accidents increased by 40% between 2011 and 2012, yet the number of deaths and head injuries dropped by 38% and 50%, respectively, during this same period . The prevented head injuries in the instance of a crash is largely attributable to the use of helmets. We need to ensure that our children are protected when on the roads since children’s helmet use rates are still woefully low.
Starting in September of last year, we launched a campaign in cooperation with the Ho Chi Minh City Traffic Safety Committee, to increase the enforcement of the child helmet law (Decree 34) in five target districts within Ho Chi Minh City, including District 1, Binh Thanh District, District 9, District 12, and Tan Binh District. We have observed an increase of helmet use rates from the average of 20% around Vietnam to 63.5% that we documented at one of school, Nguyen Du Primary School, in one of our target districts, District 12.
Through our ongoing public awareness campaign targeting Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, and Hanoi, AIP Foundation is displaying billboards with messages that encourage parents to protect their child’s future by placing a helmet on his or her head. These billboards are placed throughout the city and provide consistent reminders for children to wear their helmets.
AIP Foundation seeks to identify communities where a high percentage of students commute to and from school by motorbike but whose parents have difficulty affording helmets for their children. Through our Helmets for Kids projects, we hand over helmets to these students. To reinforce these messages, we train teachers in road safety education so that they can continue to teach their students about safe helmet wearing practices years after the initial helmet donation. Students receive road safety information through non-class, extracurricular activities. We also engage parents since they are a critical decision maker in whether or not a child wears a helmet. In January alone, over 3,000 students across Vietnam have received helmets through our programs.
We hope to be able to reach more students with our comprehensive model that provides students with quality helmets and empowers children to wear them through education, increasing public awareness, and enforcement. We seek to have more children protecting themselves against the risk of head injury and death through the simple act of putting on a helmet, around the Tet holiday and every time that children ride on a motorcycle.
 N. Tien. “HCMC records an increase in traffic accidents during Tet Lunar New Year”. Saigon Giai Phong Daily, 28 January 2012. http://www.saigon-gpdaily.com.vn/Hochiminhcity/2012/1/99534/