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Childhood motorcycle-related injuries in a Nigerian city – prevalence, spectrum and strategies for control

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Abstract:

The use of motorcycles is becoming increasingly popular in Nigeria because of poor public and private transportation systems. Motorcycle crashes account for a disproportionate share of the deaths and disabilities that result from road traffic accidents. We undertook a prospective descriptive study of all children aged 15 years or under with motorcycle-related injuries (MCRIs) who presented at the emergency room of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital over a period of 3 years. Children with ophthalmic injuries and those who died before reaching the hospital were excluded. Over the study period, 40 of a total of 440 patients admitted with MCRIs were children (9.0%). Twenty-seven children (67.5%) were injured as pedestrians, 11 (27.5%) as passengers and 2 (5%, young adolescents) as riders. One 3-year-old child was admitted to the intensive care unit with severe head injury and died. Prevention of MCRIs in children should be a priority in our setting. Public campaigns should clearly highlight the risk of injury to this age group, and poor safety practices with regard to children should be specifically targeted. With the motorcycle gaining popularity as a mode of transportation in our cities and communities, the importance of teaching our youth about correct safety behaviour such as helmet use, and parents on the danger of letting their children cross roads alone, cannot be over-emphasised.

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