Child motorcycle helmet project in Thailand

Child motorcycle helmet project in Thailand
Background and origin of the initiative
Since 1996, the motorcycle helmet law for drivers and passengers has been
enforced nation-wide in Thailand. However, the injury surveillance reports from the
MOPH repeated continuously that motorcycle riders still had the largest proportion
among deaths of all road users (approximately 70- 80 % of road death each year).
Children were not exempted, as motorcycles were used as family vehicles and as
major mode for transporting children to schools. Among children less than 15 years,
68 % of deaths from transport crashes were of vehicle users and 72% of the child
vehicle users died from riding on motorcycles in 2002. As per estimation from death
registry and Thailand National Injury Surveillance of 2003, approximately 12,000
children were admitted to provincial hospitals for treatment (average of 33 per day or
1.4 persons per hour). There were 1.5 child deaths every day, approximately four
times the numbers of DHF deaths. According to the National Injury Surveillance
report, 99.9% of the child motorcyclists who got severely injured did not wear
motorcycle helmet. Head injuries in the admitted children due to transport injuries
increased significantly at 2 years old and again from 10 to 14 years old. (Figure1) In
2003, the information was presented in the meeting of the National Road Safety
Directing Center (RSDC), chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister together with the
proposal to prohibit children from riding on motorcycles. After a three - month
consideration, the RSDC Board decided not to prohibit but to seek for protection of
the child motorcycle riders instead. Wearing of a motorcycle helmet is an important
safety behavior for motorcycle riders. If a 90% helmet wearing rate among
motorcycle riders on the road is achieved, deaths and severe head injuries among
motorcycle riders would be decreased by 30%. The causes of not wearing helmet
were inadequate knowledge and lack of enforcement. This resulted in the helmet
industry not producing motorcycle helmets for 2-5 year old children, and helmets for 6-14
years old (smallest size of the standard helmet) were difficult to find outside of Bangkok.
(Children of less than 2 years old can not wear standard motorcycle helmet due to weak
neck muscle.) The child motorcycle helmet project aimed to catalyze the manufacturing of
standard motorcycle helmet for 2-5 year-old child and promote helmet wearing in children
< 15years old, of which will decrease deaths and serious head injuries in children.
Detail of the initiative
1. To have the 2-4 year-old child helmet manufactured – The manufacturers
required certainty in the sales, which depends on the enforcement on this age group
and the first purchase order which is large enough to cover the cost for the new mold.
The cost only for the new mold was about 100,000 Baht (USD 2,500). Fund raising
from the private sector was tried but received no actual contribution. Finally, 3 million
Baht (approximately 75,000 USD at that time) from government budget of the
RSDC‘s secretary office (Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation), was
mobilized from the saved budget in purchasing alcohol breath analyzers, to purchase
the first lot of 15,000 child (2-5 years old) helmet through open bidding.
o The Subcommittee on child helmet, under the RSDC, organized a workshop
for all helmet manufacturers to inform the policy of the RSDC and provide
opportunity to the manufacturers to discuss technical issues of the new
standard and production of child (2-5 years old) motorcycle helmet with the
The standard of motorcycle helmet for children 2-5 years old was announced
by the Industrial Ministry. The specification to purchase the child helmet was
announced accordingly, with major features to be half shell, weight of less
than 0.5 kg and head circumference 500 – 520 mm, to be suitable to the
small child. ( full standard- Annex1 )
2. To distribute the purchased child helmets, raise awareness and promote
wearing at local and national level - A call for 15 pilot provinces application was
circulated to all governors, together with the concept paper of the project. A contract
was signed by the governors, the chief police, and the education chief of each pilot
province with the RSDC Chair (Dep. PM) stating that each pilot province would
receive 1,000 child MC helmet but would also have to mobilize local resources for
purchasing another 1,000 additional helmets to be used all together as educational
tools in own province; technical support would be provided from the RSDC (by a
technical coordinator as the project manager) through meetings with the multisectoral core team of each province to discuss the project concept and planning for
activities, at the beginning and again at the middle of the project to exchange
experience and lessons learned; empowering visit to each province by the project
manager and through day to day communications. Each province would receive
350,000 Baht (US $ 8,750) to organize educational campaign at central district of
each province; stringent enforcement should follow after the educational campaign.
The 15 provinces would be evaluated on helmet wearing rate against the target,
among 2-14 years old after 1 year. The provincial project started in March 2005.
National and local TV / radio spots, newspaper scoops/ campaigns for central were
also implemented. The Thaihealth (The Thai health promotion foundation has
revenue derived from 2 percent of the excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol)
supported 14.9 million Baht (USD 372,500) for all implementation and another 3
million Baht (USD 75,000) for external evaluation. According to the evaluation
done by the Public health faculty, Thammasart University, the standard child
motorcycle helmet had achieved 74% reduction of head injuries by wearing
helmet when riding on motorcycle. The child helmet wearing rate raise from 0%
before the project to the average of 9.8% in the pilot and 7.6 % in the non-pilot
provinces (television and radio spot covered the whole country). The
evaluation report revealed that enforcement was the key for higher helmet
wearing rate. This was evident from wearing rate by each pilot province of
which the leading provinces Bureerum (17.2%) had the chief police as project
manager. However, by the end of the project, there were 6 manufacturers
producing the 2-5 year old and more than 5 year old child motorcycle helmets
for local market and exporting to other countries.
Each country that allows children to be transported by motorcycle should have the
standard of child motorcycle helmet, especially for 2-5 year, who can not use the
smallest size of adult motorcycle helmet. Whether to manufacture within the country
depends on the production cost and the demand. The initial investment by the
government to catalyze the manufacturing in Thailand was as low as 75,000 USD.
Thailand needed the extra budget for promotion program due to the rather low
motorcycle helmet law enforcement. According to the 1st global road safety survey in
2009, self scoring from consensus professional opinion of Thailand was 4/ 10, while
other SEAR countries had higher score, such as Nepal (score 9), Indonesia (score
7), Sri Lanka (score 7), Myanmar (score 6). Hence these countries with more
effective enforcement may not need budget in promoting child motorcycle helmet
wearing. Only the standard and clarification that children are not exempted in the
helmet law through mass media may be adequate for the start.
In 2007, Ministry of Transport, Indonesia started the child motorcycle project helmet.
At present, the child Motorcycle helmets are manufactured within the countries and
also exporting to other countries.
Catalyzing the manufacturing of standardized child motorcycle helmet will not only
provide more safety to children who rides on motorcycles in the countries but will also
be an investment of good opportunity for exporting.
Let’s save the kids!
Head injuries in child motorcycle riders, by age
National Injury Surveillance,Thailand, 2003
<1 1
9 10 11 12 13 14
Source : 27 hosp.National Injury Surveillance,Ministry of Public Health,Thailand 2003
Figure 2
Educational campaign
Figure 3
Real life situation in Thailand, 2011
children wearing helmets on motorcycles
Annex 1
Specification of child Motorcycle helmet (Thailand since 2004)
1) General Figures
Use for children when riding of motorcycle and bicycle for safety, if crashes
2) Detail Specification following are required:
2.1 Half shell, weight – Less than 0.5 kg, head circumference – 500 – 520 mm
2.2 Properties are according to standard ISO/R 1511 – 1970 or standard JIS T
8133 – 1982 or standard BS 6658: 1985 in following list:
1) Shock Absorption
2) Resistance to Penetration
3) Rigidity
4) Chinstrap Strength
I. Resistance to Deformation
II. Resistance of Harness to detachment from Shell
2.3 Width of chinstrap is 20 mm or more
2.4 Ventilating hole (if available) can not be more than 4 (2 front 2 back), size
not more than 1.00 x 2.5 cm each
Reflective Sticker seen from front, sides (2 sides) and backside
Width – 1.5 cm total length at least – 30 cm.
Note: This specification has been discussed with the manufacturers and
agreed by them to the Industrial Standard Ministry.
1. This specification had field evaluations done by 3 rd party- Dr. Nitaya Vajanapoom
([email protected]) and team in Thammasart University public health faculty. Paper
presented in an injury conference in Vietnam. The result showed 74% effectiveness in protecting
head and brain injuries.
2. Thailand is now (2011) working for a new standard that will use newer reference than standard
ISO/R 1511 – 1970 or standard JIS T 8133 – 1982 or standard BS 6658: 1985 .
3. For more information, interested member countries can contact directly to DR. Adisak
Plitponkarnpim copying to Thailand MOH FP ([email protected];) Ms Nongnuch Tantidhama
nongnuch Tantidhama and WHO CO FP [email protected])