By Amy Glass
Safety campaign launched in bid to reduce amount of children killed in road, traffic accidents.
Road accidents are the biggest child killer in the UAE, according to alarming statistics from the Ministry of Health.
The frightening figures have prompted the launch of a safety campaign by Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) and the Dubai Health Authority, in a bid to reduce the amount of children hurt or killed on the emirate’s roads, the two authorities announced on Thursday.
Dr. Fatima Al-Attar, spokesperson for Dubai Health Authority, said 6,146 UAE children were involved in car accidents between 2001 and 2007.
“Many of these could have been prevented with proper care from parents…together we hope to give parents the ability to understand what constitutes safe behavior and act in their children’s best interest when driving or allowing them to play near roads.”
The awareness initiative will see road and traffic safety information provided to parents, alongside information on all aspects of child health.
The information kit will be distributed to new mothers in Dubai hospitals, beginning with Al Wasl Hospital, as authorities aim to educate parents on preventable accidents.
According to the Abu Dhabi Health Authority, the UAE currently has the highest rate of roads death in the world.
The number of occasions one sees children in cars/school buses bouncing around all over the seats, sitting on either parents laps unrestrained, or hanging their hands and heads outside windows is appalling. Children are precious and every effort should be made to ensure they are the safest they can be. In order to lessen the number of fatalities it should be mandatory to ensure the following rules: 1. Restrained in a seatbelt at all times 2. Child booster seats should be fitted in cars to enable safe use of the belts 3. Properly secured baby capsules should be used for new born infants 4. Children should not be in the front seat 5. Drivers should be fined immediately for having children on their laps
"I can afford a fine" said, a close friend of mine who is qualified business management graduate and a senior executive in an organisation, when I told him not to make his child sit in the front seat with his wife. For him, it was a matter of fine, how foolish of him in spite of me advising to do this practice even if the cops do not fine him. It was about life of his child- but in vain! Sadly, before he realized it the fatality happened and there was no cop to fine him that day.
The biggest problem in the UAE and the Gulf in general is the complete lack of a requirement to place children in protective car seats. Education needs to include the fact that parents should not place small children in the front seat, should not allow them to climb all over the car and horror of horrors sit with infants and toddlers on their laps while they drive. There need to be strict laws governing all of this.
Taking action on this is a good idea, but why target mothers of newborn babies? The bigger problem is unbelted toddlers standing or sitting pretty much anywhere but almost never in a child seat. In the event of a crash, they are often at more risk of injury and death from the own vehicle's airbag system than from external influences. Airbags explode, the things are only designed to protect if passengers are correctly seated and wearing seatbelts - under different circumstances, they can (and often do) kill. Showing some crash-test film sequences on TV could well bring the message home to fatalistic and irresponsible parents better than anything else.
In most developed countries it is mandatory for children to be placed in child seats and seatbelted in, and has been thus since the 1980s. After 10 years here I still cannot get used to the sheer ignorance and carelessness of parents that allow their children to jump all around the car and sit in the parents laps. Why the authorities do nothing about it is disturbing, but then the majority of road deaths are caused by ignorant people driving an inch off your bumper flashing their lights, and the authorities blame speed, rather than tailgating and reckless driving for the accidents. I guess it justifies the revenue raised from speed cameras. If there was money in it I'm sure the government would get the police to act. How about actually issuing fines to people who use cell phones driving, who tailgate and drive recklessly and who fail to properly restrain children in cars. Problem is, the police would actually have to pull someone over to issue the fine, rather than practicing 'passive policing" on the road.
Tough measures with some hard hitting visual details of of crash victims... It takes a 30km 'bump' for a front seat occupant to propel forward and hit the dashboard/windscreen with enough force to give serious injury. Now imagine what will happen to a baby or a child sitting on a parents lap and being crushed, probably to death, by the weight of that parent against the dashboard...Is life that cheap..?
Until the Police adopt a Zero tolerance to children sitting on the laps of front seat passengers and that ALL occupants MUST wear a seatbelt, then things will never change. If you really love your children STRAP THEM IN!!!!!
The irresponsibility of parents is shocking! How many people are driving high speed on the high way with their children either unstrapped in the back, hanging out the window, or worse, on the passenger lap. But the fact that spme parents keep their children on their lap when driving, should be punished. There should be laws and regulations that make safety seats and back seat seatbelts obligatory, as well as forbidding children in the front seat untill a certain age. I wonder how parents can take such risks on their child's safety and their life.....