Belfast Telegraph

Parents urged to ensure children are buckled up

ENVIRONMENT Minister Mark H Durkan has made a rallying call to parents to ensure their children are wearing seatbelts.

The minister (right) was responding to the Annual Seatbelt Survey which showed 5% of children between five and nine are not buckled in.

The figures also reveal the overall level of seatbelt use remains high at 98% and the number of people wearing seatbelts in the back has remained static at around 95%.

Mr Durkan said: "I commend the vast majority of people who use their seatbelts.

"Many people are alive today who would quite simply not be, if seatbelt-wearing was the rate it was a few years ago.

"When you think, though, of how many drivers and passengers travel every day, even very small percentages not using belts could be significant. My department estimates that overall two lives, 22 serious injuries and 120 slight injuries could be saved each year were a 100% wearing rate observed. Last year seven people died and 36 were seriously injured who were not wearing a seatbelt.

"I'm particularly concerned that all children are not buckled up safely. And it is not just about wearing a seatbelt. For a child aged between one and seven using an appropriate child restraint reduces the risk of injury by a further 70% over using a seatbelt alone."

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