New online child safety platform set up in Moldova
A new online platform to donate and receive used child restraint systems for children in low income households has been launched in Moldova.
There were 330 vehicle crashes involving minors resulting in 13 child deaths last year, in a country which has a population of just 3.4 million. In the event of a car crash, the chance of a child’s death is reduced by 80% when a child seat is used. Moldovan law has required the use of appropriate child restraints for under 12s since 2013. While there are penalties for violations, the law is rarely enforced; an observational survey conducted by Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM) identified that just 30% - 40% of children were adequately protected.
A safe and appropriate child seat costs between €150-350, while the average monthly salary is €250, which makes it unaffordable for many lower income families and contributes to the very low usage.
To tackle the issue of unaffordability and ensure that children from low income households are able to access child restraints, ACM created an online platform for donating and receiving child seats as part of their ‘Kind Child Restraint’ project. The new web-platform www.baby4baby.org enables families to donate or obtain child restraints, operates in three languages, and runs in Moldova and Belarus.
The official launch of the platform included support from Livii Baziuc, Chief of National Patrolling Inspectorate, local stakeholders representing the Police, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Health as well as local parents. Speaking at the launch, Mr. Baziuc said: "We hope the situation will change for the better, as more parents make sure that children are transported safely buckled up in child seats. Currently, children are at risk of being victims, not onlyin serious collisions, but also in cases of sudden braking. Only we, all together, can ensure safety in road traffic.”
Special training sessions focused on technical aspects, including checking safety performance of used child seats, were delivered by Daniell Ballmann from Touring Club Switzerland and were attended by FIA Members Clubs from: Belarus; Latvia; Lithuania; and Romania.
The project has been widely covered in the national media and is supported by the Parliamentary Speaker Andrian Candu – the Road Safety Ambassador of Moldova who also donated a child restraint on behalf of his family. Speaking on the impact of the platform, Iuliana Ivanov, one of the beneficiaries of the scheme, said: “Earlier I held tightly onto my children when we were in cars to feel safer in cars. A car seat is too expensive for us. Thanks to the donation, I feel that my children are much safer. I cannot wait to immediately install it.”
Through funding from the FIA Foundation, the FIA Road Safety Programme has helped nine automobile clubs, including the ACM, implement the Child Safety in Cars toolkit to encourage child restraint use. An evaluation of the ACM’s work saw an 8% increase in permanent use of child restraint systems and a 7% increase in the use of the seat at a frequency of 2-3 times per week in the first year alone. There is clearly a long way to go, but the automobile club has laid the foundations for progress.