Sharjah: Some 63 per cent of deaths of children under the age of 14 are caused by road accidents in the UAE, said an official at the Supreme Council of Family Affairs in Sharjah while stressing the importance of using children's car seats.
"Child car seats protect children and reduce the mortality rate by 71 per cent. Out of all the car accidents recorded in the country, 83 per cent of children who used car seats did not suffer any form of injury," Khadeeja Al Mansouri, Head of Health Promotion Department at the Council.
The authorities have taken the responsibility to educate the public about the importance of using children's car seats and various other ways on how to keep them safe on the road. The Sharjah Ladies Club's Child Safety awareness campaign which was launched last month will run until April in various government department buildings.
Khadeeja also said that only two per cent of Emirati families use car seats. "Children below 13 years old must sit in the back seat and wear a seat belt, but unfortunately many parents do not follow this rule," she said.
Car seats should be set up facing the back seat so that in case of an accident, the airbags do not hit the child's face. Car seats should also never be placed in the front seat, and the seats should be properly secured with a seat belt.
Alerting parents on safety rules has become a priority in the country in recent weeks. Gulf News has also launched its "Child Security & You" campaign to inform families about the dos and don'ts in keeping children safe at home and on the road.
"Children should never be left alone in a car, even though the windows are kept open, especially in hot weather, because it can lead to suffocation," Khadeeja said.
She also stressed that parents should be responsible and not leave their children alone at home and they should not play in parking lots.
Types of safety seats
- Children 0-9 months, or those weighing 0-13kg, must be seated in child seats facing the rear of the car.
- Children between 9 months and 3.5 years, weighing 9kg to 18kg, should be seated in car seats facing forward.
- Seat boosters can be used for children between 3.5-12 years, weighing 15-36kg.
- Support cushions can be used for children aged six to 11 years, who weigh 22kg to 36kg.
- Child seats should be placed on the back seat, secured with seat belts.