Johnson & Johnson reinvest in helmet safety

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Rodrigo Fuentes, Director of Health & Safety, J&J Asia Pacific (centre) at one of the helmet handovers
Rodrigo Fuentes, Director of Health & Safety, J&J Asia Pacific (centre) at one of the helmet handovers

Johnson & Johnson is donating motorcycle helmets to nearly 7,000 primary school students and teachers at twelve Vietnamese schools in its second year of support for the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety.

The company, a Global Supporter of the Decade of Action, is making a US $150,000 donation to the Road Safety Fund in 2013, which is earmarked for Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation’s Helmets for Kids programme in South East Asia. Many children in Vietnam travel to and from school as passengers on the family motorcycle. 

“The results of J&J’s sponsorship last year exceeded our highest expectations,” said Sandy S. Lee, Director, Worldwide Fleet Safety, Worldwide Environment, Health, and Safety with Johnson & Johnson. “In total, 49 students and one teacher were reported to have experienced road crashes and in most instances suffered less severe injuries due to the helmet donation. A fourth-grade student from Ha Tinh Province who was thrown head-first to the ground by a crash survived because of his helmet. These results propelled us to continue putting helmets on the heads of children who need them most.”

Helmets were handed over to the students in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, and Dong Nai provinces at ceremonies from April 16 to 23. Nearly 2,000 teachers, students, parents, local authorities, and partners attended the kick-off events, including representatives of the local Department of Education and Training, Traffic Safety Committee, Transport Department, Traffic Police, Women’s and Youth Unions, and People’s Committee. These local partners collaborate with schools during Helmets for Kids implementation and afterward to maintain high levels of helmet use.

Helmets for Kids will also conduct helmet observations, teacher training, crash monitoring, extracurricular activities, and communication with students’ parents to reinforce their understanding of helmet use and encourage them to put helmets on their children. In addition, 32 billboards will be installed encouraging helmet wearing among children at former and current target schools. At the beginning of the next academic year, more than 3,000 new students at the total 32 target schools will also receive helmets.

“Last year, Johnson & Johnson launched our largest Helmets for Kids to date with a donation of 11,020 helmets,” said Hoang Thi Na Huong, Deputy Executive Director of AIP Foundation. “Average helmet use rates increased from 23 to 90 per cent across all 20 participating schools. This remarkable success has compelled us to continue by expanding to new schools.”

“Many of these schools are located along National Highway 1A, which passes through Ha Tinh, as well as Quang Binh and Dong Nai,” said Mr. Hoang Minh Viet, Standing Deputy Head, Ha Tinh Traffic Safety Committee said. “Proximity to this busy road, low helmet use rates, and weak traffic infrastructure create a dangerous environment for the students.”