DUBAI // Parents are being offered free advice by a nursery on keeping children safe in cars in an attempt to boost the number of people using child seats.
Tips on how to correctly install child seats will be offered as part of a safety week at the Blossom Nursery in Umm Al Sheif.
The Government has been discussing legislation for mandatory child-safety measures in cars since 2008, but a federal law has yet to be finalised.
Chantal Ariens, the nursery’s director of business development, is hosting the free car-seat safety workshop at Blossom Burj nursery, near Al Wasl Road, on Thursday, from 8am to 11am.
“We see some parents still dropping off children without any form of seatbelt. It scares the hell out of me,” she said.
“The majority are putting their children in car seats, but there are plenty who don’t. We want to help by educating parents.”
The nursery hopes all parents will sign a pledge to not drop off children without putting them into a child seat.
Experts believe that legislation on the matter will help the UAE to achieve its target figure of three road fatalities per 100,000 residents, as set out by the Government under Vision 2021. That is half the current road fatality figure, according to the Ministry of Interior.
Thomas Edelmann, from Road Safety UAE, said the correct use of child seats could reduce the likelihood of car-accident deaths by 70 per cent for infants, and by between 54 and 80 per cent for young children.
“In a crash at 50kph, an unrestrained child would be thrown forward with a force comparable to falling from a three-storey building,” he said.
“Car seats are designed to withstand the forces of a crash and protect a child from being ejected in an accident.
“Without a proper child seat, sudden braking or a collision could result in a child being thrown around and out of the car.”
A survey by UAE University in 2014 found the belief that children were safer in their mother’s arms to be a common misconception, while the perceived inconvenience of using safety seats meant that only one in five parents used them for infants.
Even when children were placed in child seats, many parents did not use them correctly, researchers found.
Only one in five parents always uses a safety seat for children under two, while four in 10 parents never use a child seat for children between the ages of two and four, the survey found.
Embarrassment, fatalism and a lack of understanding about the function of a child seat are some of the reasons given for not using them, according to focus groups organised as part of the study.
“Education, legislation and active enforcement are essential to counter these wrong beliefs.
“Workshops or road-safety days like this one, which educate parents, as well as instilling the right habits in children as young as possible are very important,” Mr Edelmann said.
Source: uae news