Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Viet Nam’s mandatory motorcycle helmet law and its impact on children

Aaron Pervin, Jonathon Passmore, Mirjam Sidik, Tyler McKinley, Nguyen Thi Hong Tu & Nguyen Phuong Nam

Objective

To measure the use of motorcycle helmets in children and to determine the reasons why children wear helmets less often than adults.

Methods

The frequency of helmet wearing among adults and children was ascertained by trained roadside observers, and randomized road user surveys were completed in four major centres in Viet Nam: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho and Da Nang. Survey data on key questions were cross tabulated, and χ² was calculated for significant differences between parents and non-parents (0.05).

Findings

The frequency of helmet use in the four study locations ranged from 90–99% among adults, from 15–53% among children ≤ 7 years of age, and from 38–53% among children > 7 but ≤ 14. Of the parents surveyed, 67% said the fear of neck injury was the most important reason their children did not wear a helmet.

Conclusion

Children wear motorcycle helmets much less often than adults. Legislation to penalize adults whose children do not wear motorcycle helmets has been proposed in Viet Nam. Furthermore, ongoing advocacy and social marketing efforts are being made to disseminate information about the safety benefits of helmets to combat erroneous public perceptions.

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