Child Occupant Safety in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis, Ghana: An Observational Study

Solomon Ntow Densu


Seating positions and restraint use influence the severity of injury among child passengers in the event of a crash. In light of this, legislation mandating age-appropriate child restraint use, in suitable seating positions was enacted, yet very little is known about its compliance level. This study therefore aimed to assess restriant use and seating positions among children riding in vehicles. Covert but unobstructed synchronised observations of restriant use and seating positions were conducted at 11 automated signalized intersections in the STM. Overall, 3849 occupants, comprising 1535 motorists and 2314 child passengers were clearly observed. A little over one third of the children were riding in the front seats, of which one-half were younger than 5 years of age. 1 in 5 of the children observed were riding on adults laps, with 42% in the front seats. Motorists’ belt use 50.6% (95% C.I=48.10-53.10) was significantly higher than children 6.6% (95% C.I=5.83-7.37). Restraint use among front-seated child passengers (14.0%; 95% C.I=12.63-15.37) was markedly higher than rear-seated ones (3.7%; 95% C.I=2.80-4.61). Children were twice as more (OR=2; 95%C.I=1.14-2.25) likely to be restrained when motorists were belted; and thrice as more (OR=3.18; 95%C.I=2.15-4.72) while travelling with a female motorist. Restriant use was prevalent in private cars, during rush-hours and increased with child’s age. Restriant use was incredibly generally low among children, with significant proportion riding in front seating positions. Efforts should be directed at elevating the understanding of parents concerning the importance of restraining younger children in the rear seats, alongside the provision of restraints at subsidized rates or preferably free of charge, while encouraging their use through well-planned and adequately resourced extensive public education and enforcement campaigns.

Key words: Child restraint use, legislation, seating position, Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis, Ghana

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