Teaching children road safety through storybooks: an approach to child health literacy in Pakistan

Haris Ahmad, Aga Khan University
Rubaba Naeem, Aga khan University
Asher Feroze, Aga Khan University
Nukhba Zia, Aga Khan University
Amarah Shakoor, Aga Khan University
Uzma R. Khan, Aga Khan University
Asad Mian, Aga Khan University


Background: Road traffic injuries (RTIs) commonly affect the younger population in low- and-middle-income countries. School children may be educated about road safety using storybooks with colorful pictures, which tends to increase the child’s interest in the text. Therefore, this study assessed the use of bilingual pictorial storybooks to improve RTI prevention knowledge among school children.

Methods: This pretest-posttest study was conducted in eight public and nine private schools of Karachi, Pakistan, between February to May 2015. Children in grades four and five were enrolled at baseline (n = 410). The intervention was an interactive discussion about RTI prevention using a bilingual (Urdu and English) pictorial storybook. A baseline test was conducted to assess children’s pre-existing knowledge about RTI prevention followed by administration of the intervention. Two posttests were conducted: first immediately after the intervention, and second after 2 months. Test scores were analyzed using McNemar test and paired sample t-test.

Results: There were 57% girls and 55% public school students; age range 8–16 years. Compared to the overall baseline score (5.1 ± 1.4), the number of correct answers increased in both subsequent tests (5.9 ± 1.2 and 6.1 ± 1.1 respectively, p-value < 0.001). Statistically significant improvement in mean scores was observed based on gender, grades and school type over time (p-value < 0.001).

Conclusion: Discussions using bilingual pictorial storybooks helped primary school children in Pakistan grasp knowledge of RTI prevention. RTI education sessions may be incorporated into school curricula using storybooks as teaching tools. Potential exists to create similar models for other developing countries by translating the storybooks into local languages.