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Most traffic deaths in developing nations

Part 1 of 2

Here's some injury-related news gleaned over the past few months:

Global traffic deaths

Between 450,000 and 880,000 people were killed worldwide in motor-vehicle crashes in 1999. Eighty-five percent of the deaths occurred were in developing and transitional countries where vehicle ownership-levels are low, and almost half of them occurred in the Asia/Pacific region. An estimate of the annual cost of crashes worldwide was more than $500 billion. The study was funded by the World Bank, the United Kingdom Department for International Development and the Transport Research Laboratory of England. You can obtain the report online at (

Vietnam helmet law

Vietnam has decreed that all motorcycle riders on highways must wear safety helmets. The measure was instituted in September following a traffic-safety conference.

Go-carts recalled

More than 90,000 motorized recreational carts have been recalled in the United States for safety reasons. Popularly known as go-carts, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has said the vehicles are dangerous because riders' long hair or loose clothing can become tangled in rotating parts behind the driver's seat, despite guards meant to prevent such incidents. An Indiana manufacturer received a report of one death — a 13-year-old Idaho girl whose neck was broken when her hair caught in a drive chain — and two serious head injury cases.

Ride-on toys recalls

Electric powered ride-on toys seemed got some bad press in the United States last summer. A series of press releases from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall of more than 520,000 of the toys for different reasons — battery chargers that overheated and foot pedals that got stuck in the "on" position. There were reports of children burning their hands and house fires, as well as cuts and bruises when a 3 year-old on on a toy motorcycle ran into a house.

Gun lock recall

More than three quarters of a million gun locks have been recalled in the United States due to a manufacturing "discrepancy." The two halves of some gun locks can be manually separated without a key, giving children and others unauthorized access to a firearm. The manufacturer, Master Lock, reports it has not received any consumer reports of locks being disabled as a result of this problem.

Kellogg recalls toy cars

Cereal company Kellogg has recalled 837,000 toy cars packed inside some cereal boxes. The tires can detach from the wheels, posing a choking hazard for young children. Kellogg has received two reports of the tires detaching from the wheels of these toy cars. No injuries have been reported.

Alton Thygerson, professor of health sciences at Brigham Young University, is the National Safety Council's first aid and CPR author and technical consultant. For more information, the National Safety Council First Aid Handbook by Thygerson is available in local bookstores.