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Poorer children in more traffic accidents: report

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Poorer children in more traffic accidents: report
09:33 CET+01:00
Traffic safety is a class issue in Sweden, as working class children are far more likely to be injured in traffic than their middle class friends, according to a study from Stockholm's Karolinska Institute.

"All parents want to protect their children, but not all have the same possibilities to do so," Marie Hasselberg, scientist at Karolinska Institute's department of public health sciences, told news agency TT.

The children of working class parents are 30 percent more likely to be injured in bicycle or pedestrian accidents, when compared to middle class children.

When these children then grow up and begin driving motorcycles and cars, the difference grows to 70 percent.

A team of researchers, including Marie Hasselberg, have been studying traffic accidents among children from a class perspective, and were struck by the large differences.

The original study was made in 2004, and Hasselberg is now planning to investigate whether the differences remain.

One major factor which determines traffic safety is naturally the family's economic situation. Helmets, car seats for children, and such all cost money.

Another factor appears to be how, and how much, the children are exposed to traffic.

"What's the surrounding environment for the child like? Does anyone walk them to school? If you're working shifts, that might be tricky to arrange," said Hasselberg.

According to her, differences in Swedish families' socioeconomic status needn't make such a impact on accident statistics, pointing out some changes which could even out this impact.

"We have to create places for playing, and safe paths to schools. In the meantime, there are other simple measures, such as a walking school bus."

The walking school bus is already in practice on several spots around Sweden. The adults simply take turns picking up the children at a given spot, and walking with them to school.

Hasselberg also calls for vehicle tests to include checking whether the child safety seat is properly assembled.

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