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Wed 3 Sep 2008 06:35 AM

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21 kids died in accidents last year - police

Report blames dependence on housemaids and negligence for high rate.

Twenty-one children lost their lives in different accidents in Abu Dhabi last year while another 1,641 were injured, official figures have revealed.A study by Abu Dhabi Police concluded that the increasing dependence of Arab and UAE families on housemaids to raise their kids and negligence were the main reasons for the high rate.

Police noted that most accidents happened within Arab communities with around 718 Arab children (40 percent) injured followed by children of UAE nationals whose number were 574 (34 percent), news agency WAM reported on Wednesday.

Asian children suffered from accidents stood at 204 (12 percent) while those belonging to European and other communities numbered 286 (10 percent).

Captain Beshir Al Belbisis, author of the study, said: "The under five year children were the most vulnerable age group to dangers whether inside or outside the house, making 52 percent of the total accidents."

Seven percent of accidents were fatal while 63 percent were minor and 35 percent were serious.

Boys were by far the most accident-prone, being involved in 76 percent of the incidents.

The author attributed this to the social upbringing of both genders under the conservative culture of the Arab world and close monitoring of girls inside and outside the house.

The policy towards boys is different as they are allowed broader freedom to go out for play for a long time.

Over the last seven years, Abu Dhabi saw 7,011 accidents but the study believed that majority of them could have been prevented or avoided if more caution had been exercised.

A breakdown showed that 56 children faced the risk of drowning. Accidents related to falls from highrise apartments numbered 228 against 19 for suffocation. Children ran over by cars totalled 133.

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