KT edit: No child should suffer due to negligence

But, it's not as if the UAE does not have rules in place as far as school buses, drivers and attendants are concerned.

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Published: Sun 16 Jun 2019, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 16 Jun 2019, 10:20 PM

A six-year-old boy died in a minibus in Dubai after he dozed off and remained locked inside while his friends had alighted to attend classes at an Islamic centre in Al Quoz. Late last month, a five-year-old boy died of suffocation in Al Ain after locking himself inside a family vehicle. In October 2014, a three-year-old girl suffocated to death after being forgotten inside a school bus in Abu Dhabi. Again, in April 2008, a four-year-old died in hospital after he was found unconscious in a school bus in Abu Dhabi. News of such negligence are aplenty. Being locked up in a closed vehicle, especially in the UAE's scorching heat, can be life-threatening, more so for the young as their bodies dehydrate faster. And little children dozing off in buses is surely not a rarity with school pick-up times starting as early as at 6am.
But, it's not as if the UAE does not have rules in place as far as school buses, drivers and attendants are concerned. From the lifespan of a school bus not exceeding 15 years and seats padded from all sides with fireproof material to a qualified bus supervisor on every bus to ensure all students have departed the bus at the end of every trip, an exhaustive set of regulations ensure that all safety issues faced by students travelling by school vehicles are dealt with. So why do such incidents recur? Shouldn't technology be put to better use here? Installing a sensor that could detect human presence inside the bus once it is switched off and sends out an alarm is not rocket science. Also, are the security rules governing regular school buses made applicable to buses and vans transporting children to and from their extracurricular classes? The nation cannot afford to lose another child to negligence. The onus lies on all stakeholders here - the authorities to establish that all vehicles carrying children come under the purview of school bus regulations; parents to ensure that their children travel only by such vehicles; and the institutes to ensure that all rules regarding children's safety are adhered to.

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