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Police urge motorists to buckle up children

Drivers face Dh400 fine for child in front seat

Gulf News

Dubai Dubai police is renewing its efforts to make child car restraints compulsory and lower the number of children killed or hurt in accidents.

Police said five children died in traffic accidents across the UAE and 134 were injured in the first six months of 2012.

The year before, three infants aged between one to three years old were killed in traffic accidents while four toddlers aged between one to three years seriously were injured in the same year.

The number of children aged from 1 to 15-year-old injured in traffic accidents in 2011 totalled 108 child out of them, 18 child were seriously injured, 30 child sustained moderate injures and 55 child sustained minor injures.

Out of the 108 injured children, 75 were boys and 33 girls -- five children were injured while driving the car by themselves, 68 injured children were passengers in the car with adults but without car seat or seat belt. And 35 children were injured as pedestrians in 2011.

The death toll in 2011 of children aged between 1 to 15 is five deaths.

Police warn that drivers who fail to ensure that any child in their car is buckled up in an appropriate child seat will face a charge of endangering a person’s life.

Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Head of Dubai Police’s Traffic Department, said traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among toddlers and responsible for 63 per cent of deaths among children aged 14 and younger here.

The Traffic Police Chief’s said that in 2011, an instruction issued by the Ministry of Interior meant that child seats for children below six years old are obligatory by the law.

He said the ministry had issued instructions regarding the use of child seats in the cars in 2011.

“Using child seat in the cars is obligatory by law now,” he said.

He said the fine imposed is not elaborated yet by the ministry.

Maj Gen Al Zafein said that those who endanger a child’s life will be fined.

Even if the child is sitting on a passenger’s lap, the driver is the one who will be held responsible for this violation,” he added.

He said the child’s size and weight, rather than their age, determines whether or not they need a child seat and what type of seat should be used.

“Even if the child is above six, they would still need a car seat or booster seat to ensure they are well secured, he said, adding that it was the driver’s responsibility to ensure the law is implemented.

Maj Gen Al Zafein said some children are small in size and the regular seatbelt will not offer much protection when it is too loose or falls in the wrong place on the child’s chest, as it should secure the passenger’s chest right under the neck.

A properly enforced law, he said, would “definitely improve and enhance [children’s] safety”.

He said a Dh400 fines and four black points against the licences of drivers who let their children sit in the front seat.