Dh400 fine: Dubai Police remind parents to ensure child safety in vehicles

Motorists reminded the risk of not securing children appropriately as survey revealed that one out of three parents do not own proper car seats

by

Angel Tesorero

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Published: Thu 4 Jan 2024, 6:16 PM

Last updated: Sun 7 Jan 2024, 8:07 PM

Authorities have reminded motorists to start the New Year by prioritising road safety, particularly for toddlers and young ones who must be secured in their car seats when travelling.

The message was particularly directed towards parents. "Safety is our priority, and it's also yours. Safeguarding the well-being of our little ones begins with ensuring they are securely seated in their car seats," Dubai Police underscored in their tweet. See below how children 12 years and below and those above 13 years old must be seated on car seats.

This comes following a survey conducted in the middle of last year revealing that an alarming percentage (33 per cent) or one out of three parents in the UAE do not own proper car seats for their children.

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Speaking to Khaleej Times on Thursday, Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE, said: “Obviously, child car safety is very important, and the responsibility lies with the parents, as they have to establish the proper safety habits from birth onwards.

“This means, from the hospital – when the newborn is discharged – parents must bring their newborn home in a proper child seat as mandated by Seat Belt Law that was put in place since 2017, mandating the use of child seats for children aged 0-4 years."

He elaborated: “It is of utmost importance to perform the role of the responsible parent, meaning to purchase and always use the proper child restraint system. Until age 4, this must be appropriate child seats – initially, rear-facing; later, front-facing.

In the age bracket from 5-10 years, booster seats and booster cushions must be used to guarantee the seat belt is not running across the child's neck, as a collision and the forward forces might strangle the child.”

Shocking results

In the survey conducted last year by YouGov, commissioned by RoadSafetyUAE and German car seats and stroller company Cybex, it was found out that “lack of (car seat) ownership, usage and knowledge remain a key issue of road safety.”

Respondents noted the main reasons for not owning a child car seat are: Lack of knowledge what to buy (26 per cent); Kids do not like to be strapped in (26 per cent); Perceived high price of car seats for children (26 per cent).

“What is more disturbing is that of about two-thirds of parents who own proper child car seats, about 30 per cent do not always ask their children to buckle up,” Edelmann underscored.

The top three reasons for not bucking up their children according to parents are: ‘my kids don't like to be strapped in child seats'; 'on short trips it is not necessary to wear seat belts'; and ‘I am a safe driver and I will not be involved in an accident.’

Mandatory seat belts for all

In the UAE, all passengers in a car are required to wear seat belts, including those sitting in the rear seat, failing which the driver of the vehicle will be fined Dh400 and slapped with four black points.

Children up to four years of age must be provided with a child safety seat. Violators will be fined Dh400 and slapped with four black points.

The front seat passenger should also be at least 145 cm tall and not younger than 10 years old.

Educate the parents

Edelmann underscored: “We need to educate parents further, as they are the key stakeholders and influencers. We need to strengthen the element of enforcement, for example, around schools and kindergartens. We need a mandatory newborn hospital discharge policy in place, as a federal law, and ideally embedded in the child protection law,” Edelmann underscored.

An infant car seat is designed to protect a baby in the event of a crash by forming a protective cocoon. Newborn seats are placed facing rearward so that a child will be pushed into the seat on the front impact, and the shell and inlay protect the spine and vital parts of the child. The higher sides next to the child’s head form a ‘side impact protection system’ in the event of a side collision and prevent the child’s head from moving too much.

The seats belts also restrain the child during the trip. They also strap the child into the safest position and hold it there in the event of a rear or side impact, just like the seat belts for adults.

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