Vehicle child safety top of agenda for culturally diverse Australians

Improving the quality of information available to culturally diverse families across NSW may improve child vehicle safety across the state, according to new research.
Researcher Dr Julie Brown
Approximately 70 children die as occupants of vehicles each year in Australia; over 1500 are injured in NSW alone.

Australia has well-developed child restraint standards and laws, but one in five Australians speaks a language other than English as their primary language, and this may be a barrier to these families knowing how to safely restrain their children when travelling in a car.

New research led by Dr Julie Brown at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) shows that these families value vehicle safety, but that they need access to detailed information about legislation, child safety standards and product information in a language in which they are most comfortable.

“Our research shows that Australians from culturally-diverse backgrounds are passionate about ensuring the safety of their children on the roads, and like everyone else their actions and behaviours are determined by their understanding of child safety best practice and the law”, Dr Brown says.

“However, not all families within this sector of our community have ready access to the type of information they need to fully understand the details and how it applies to their children”, she added.

“This is an exciting finding because we can now work with road safety advocates to develop appropriate materials and strategies to better assist these families protect their children in cars”, says Dr Brown.

Dr Brown and colleagues conducted a series of focus groups interviews across NSW and in 11 different languages. The languages included Arabic, Assyrian, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Turkish.

The research is published in the journal Injury Prevention and was funded by the Australian Research Council and Transport for NSW.