By Chukwuemeka Opara
Abakaliki – The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on Monday urged parents and guardians to stop exposing children to road dangers by engaging them in unwholesome practices.
Mrs Stella Uchegbu, the FRSC Sector Commander in Ebonyi, made the call in Abakaliki while speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the occasion of National Road Safety Club Day in the state to observe the Children’s Day.
Uchegbu said that children were the strength and future of any society and their usefulness depended on their safety and security.
“It has been observed that parents and guardians expose their children to dangers in the guise of showing them love.
“It has become common practice for some parents and guardians to carry their children on their laps while driving, while others carry their children with one hand and steer the vehicle with the other.
“Most parents also prefer to carry their children younger than age 12 in the front-seat, thereby exposing them to suffocation by the ‘air-bag’ in the event of an accident,” she said.
The FRSC sector commander said that likewise, children have been observed severally, standing and playing inside vehicles driven by their parents without caution.
“They sometimes, unlock the doors of moving vehicles and face the risk of falling off from the vehicle of which they either die or sustain serious injuries.
“Children as pedestrians also play football among other sporting activities along the road thereby facing the risk of being knocked down by vehicles.
“They also cross the roads without calculating properly and most times, are knocked down by motorists,” she said.
She called on parents, guardians and other stakeholders to stop all negative practices which endanger the lives of children as any nation with high child-mortality rate is heading toward extinction.
“We are inculcating road safety tips to children in primary and secondary schools so that they will be abreast of such information by the time they become adults,” she said.
Also, Mr Anya Nkama, the state’s Coordinator of the Road Safety Special Marshals, urged children to take the responsibilities of the safeguarding themselves on the roads seriously.
“Children for instance, should restrain their parents from making calls while driving, letting them understand that it was a risky practice.
“The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members should also be passionate in their road safety duties to ensure safer roads in the state and country,” he said.
Miss Clara Ibe, one of the participants in the programme, noted that she had been taught several road safety tips and pledged to put them to practice.
NAN reports that the occasion with the theme, “Catch Them Young for Safety’’ witnessed a road-walk through major roads in Abakaliki by the club members who were drawn from schools and the NYSC. (NAN)