Background Research reveals that child helmet use rates in Vietnam are very low, despite legislation mandating that children 6 years and above must wear helmets. With motorcycles comprising 95% of all vehicles on the road, and an estimated 4000 children killed in road traffic crashes in Vietnam every year, helmets are a cost-effective and proven intervention. AIP Foundation's Helmet for Kids (HFK) programme provides free helmets and traffic safety education to primary school students and encourages them to wear their helmets every day.
Objective To evaluate the effectiveness of HFK in increasing helmet use among elementary school children in Vietnam.
Methods Helmet observations were conducted at 24 elementary schools in four provinces in Vietnam, prior to and again within 2 weeks after the helmet donation. Qualitative interviews and focus group discussions were used to evaluate parents and teachers' integration, perceptions, and contributions.
Results On average, compliance rates increased from 25% in the pre-observation to 94% in the post-observation. Qualitative data reveals that teachers and parents, who play in important role in encouraging helmet use, appreciate the programme but that there is room for improvement with respect to parent mobilisation.
Significance The success of HFK in Vietnam suggests it can function as a model to promote child helmet use. Moreover, the in-depth understanding gained through evaluation allows opportunities for improvement and for an effective adaption to different contexts.
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