APSI - Association for the Promotion of Child Safety
Portugal | Association
APSI is a private, non-profit association of public interest established in 1992 with the aim of reducing the number and severity of accidents and their consequences involving children and young people. At present, APSI has a stable team of 18 people, including full-time and / or part-time workers, service providers and volunteers.
In Portugal, as is often the case in the rest of Europe, traffic accidents are the principal cause of death among children older than one year. Statistics show that children suffer higher mortality and serious injury rates as vehicle passengers than as pedestrians or drivers. The annual observation study that APSI has been carrying out since 1996 to monitor transport of children in automobiles reveals that in 2005, the number of children transported using Child Restraint Systems has significantly increased, though at the same time, there were serious errors in how the systems were used.
In order to promote the correct use of Child Restraint Systems (CRS) and transfer knowledge to the population at large and to professionals on choosing the right system and its proper use, APSI will carry out the following initiatives over the next three years:
We will organize 15 informative sessions for pregnant women and parents of small children on choosing and properly using a CRS, the goal being to decrease by between 20.7% and 15% the currently estimated number of children (from birth to the age of 12) travelling in vehicles on passenger’s laps or without any protection whatsoever.
We will set up 12 Child Car Seat Verification Centres at hypermarkets or other public areas, where parents can take their car, children and the CRS (popularly called "cadeirinha" or “baby seat”) they use, so that APSI technicians can verify whether it is the most appropriate for the child’s age and weight and whether it is properly installed in the vehicle.
We will traini officers of the law enforcement authorities (the Public Security Police Force and the National Republican Guard) to raise their awareness and involvement in the safety of children travelling in vehicles. The point is to emphasize that the law is intended to protect the life and health of citizens and to demonstrate the high level of efficiency of Child Restraint Systems (CRS), as well as to teach law enforcement officers basic knowledge of CRSs and their use. They will thus be able to recognize inadequate CRS use and give proper advice in day-to-day situations. By the same token, officers should develop specific skills to handle driver / parental reactions, especially in the presence of children.
We will hold 18 Specialization Courses for Drivers of Transportation for Children (TCC) and 9 Courses for TCC Chaperones in order to inform these professionals of the applicable legislation and strategies for working as a team, with the aim of achieving safer transport for groups of children and young people.
We will hold 12 Introductory Courses on Transporting Children in Automobiles at 12 hospitals and medical centres throughout the country, in order to lend the greatest possible number of doctors and nurses technical knowledge of CRS so they may council pregnant women and parents of children up to the age of 12 insofar as the correct choice and safe use of this equipment.