Pooja Sharma with her year-and-a-half-old son. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai/Abu Dhabi: For parents in the UAE, it is time to act before the new law regarding child car seats catches up with them.

While several parents have rushed to buy new car child seats, many others are in a wait and watch mode as they think that there are some practical challenges they need to resolve.

Abu Dhabi resident Pooja Sharma, who has a one-and-half year old son Aryaan Kazi, said she had been using child car seat from day one.

“Yes, kids do get cranky at times [in the seat] and you have to entertain them. When he gets very restless, we do pull over to attend to him. We all have to understand that rules are for our safety.”

How to choose the right car child seat

She believes that with time, children not used to being strapped in will eventually adjust.

Chandan Panjwani, also from Abu Dhabi, who has a two-year-old son Liam, said he immediately fixed a car child seat as the law came into force. “It takes time [for children] to adapt to something new. We had to persuade him, offer him candy and stuff to keep him quiet.”

“My only worry is about the fines when we are forced to unbuckle them for some time if they get restless and that can happen on long journeys. I think authorities have to consider that,” said Panjwani.

Sharjah resident Deepti Harikesh is yet to buy car seats for her children who are turning three and one in the next couple of months.

“We have been thinking of how to fix two car seats in our saloon car because my parents also live with us and travel with us. Since the new rule mandates passengers in the rear seats also to buckle up, it is going to be difficult for our entire family to travel together in the car,” she said.

Sales of car child seats rise across UAE

Dubai resident Sreejith Lal is also yet to buy a car seat for his one-year-old son Ishaan.

“We hardly take him out in the car because he falls sick when he goes out.”

Lal said that he had hoped that someone would gift Ishaan a car child seat for his first birthday just gone by but that did not happen. “Now we will get one for him.”

Sales of child car seats rise across UAE

Abu Dhabi/Dubai: Several shops across the UAE have seen a surge in child seats sales thanks to the UAE’s new federal traffic law that came into effect on July 1 which mandates child seats for children up to the age of four years.

Violations will attract a Dh400 fine.

“There has definitely been an increase in the sale of child seats in the past few days,” said Bipan Gurung, sales associate at Baby Shop in Abu Dhabi.

“We are now selling as many child seats in a day as we were in a week,”

“Many parents said they were buying a child seat because of the law,” he added.

The staff at the shop were trained ahead of the law coming into effect on how to teach parents on fixing the child seat in cars, said Gurung.

Melanie Agubang, sales associate at Db Babies, also said that sales for child seats were going up in view of the new law.

“There have been many sales over the last few days; in fact, even before the law came into effect, customers were coming in to buy the child seats,” she said.

According to Agubang, black coloured child seats are the most popular with parents.

“At the moment, we are out of stock [for black coloured seats]. And we expect more business,” she added.

Ojie Tamo, who works as a visual merchandiser at Mama & Papas, said that earlier, parents probably give the child seat a miss but since the new federal law came into effect, there has been more sales. ‘On Saturday, there was a lot of customer activity with parents wanting to make sure they were abiding by the new law,” said Tamo.

He too was of the opinion that while parents had thus far not prioritised buying the child seats due to either budgetary reasons or because they felt it was not necessary, now they were lining up for it. “Some parents said that previously they would seat their child in their lap in the car.”

While the new sales are good for business, Tamo said that the increase in the sales of child seats also boded well for child security. “From the security and safety aspect, it is very good. We have always been encouraging parents to put a child seat in their car even before the law made it mandatory,” he said.

V. Nandakumar, chief communication officer of LuLu Group, said Lulu stores across the country have seen a manifold increase in sale of car child seats since the new law took effect. “Earlier, our average monthly sale was roughly 50 to 100 pieces across the UAE. Currently, we see almost 300 to 400 pieces being sold per day across our stores in the UAE.”

There is a demand for carry-on car seats [which help parents to carry the baby in the basket-shaped car seats when they leave the car]. Many customers are also buying car seats that facilitate sleeping posture, Nandakumar said.

Law boosts awareness

Retailers said the amendment to the law has helped increase awareness of the importance of children’s car-seats. Some groups conducted awareness sessions for customers as well.

“We ran a child safety week in Lulu stores last month and educated customers about the importance of the car child seat. We also demonstrated how the seat is to be fixed as many customers were not aware of it,” said Nandakumar.

Ruban Shanmugarajah, chief operating officer of Babyshop, said he was glad to see UAE residents taking the initiative to ensure safety for their children.

He said Babyshop had pioneered child safety in the UAE through its campaign “Child Safety First” launched in 2005.

Nandakumar said it remained a challenge to change the attitudes of parents who were traditionally not used to strapping their children in car child seats. a section of customers who are traditionally not used to keeping their children in car seats.

“We see a large segment of parents carrying babies in their arms and laps [in cars]. Parents need to change their perception about child care and safety.”

Will prices go up?

In view of the huge demand for child car seats after the new law, there have been concerns about their prices going up.

Shanmugarajah said there are no plans to increase prices due to the new law. “We aim to have full stock,” he added.

Nandakumar said the prices are likely to be reduced. “The initiative is not to make money. The larger issue is child safety.”


Price watch

Babyshop: Starting price: Dh339

Lulu: Dh250 toDh1,100


Mamas & Papas shop

0-4 years old: Dh2,800

0-7 years old: Dh1,300

0-12 years old: Dh1,400

Db Babies shop

0-12 months, Dh999-Dh1,250

9 months-4 years old: Dh1,319-Dh2,595


Know the fines

Failure to fix child car seats for children under 4 years: Dh400

Allowing children under 10 years or shorter than 145cm to sit in the front seat of a vehicle: Dh400

Failure to fasten rear seat belt for all passengers: Dh400 and 4 traffic points


How to choose the right seat

Dubai: Belted or Isofix (child seats with attachment points)? What are weight groups? How should it be fixed? When it comes to car child seats, it’s not as simple as buy, fix and drive. There are many features that you need to look for on which the safety of your child depends. More importantly, ensuring the right type of car seat and its perfect installation is just as important as simply having one. Utilising an unsuitable seat or even installing it incorrectly can put a child’s life in danger. There are several types of car child seats available but be guided by the tips below to pick the right one for your child or children.

Curved, rearward-facing infant car seats offer the best protection for babies and are suitable for a child of around 12 months. Lightweight, portable and with a safety harness and carry handle, you can remove your baby from the car without taking them out of their seat. Some models also function as rockers. From birth up to 13kg.

These are suitable from birth to around four years. Use the rearward-facing seat from birth to 9kg (around 12 months) depending on model; then use forward-facing once your child can sit up unaided, from 9kg to 18kg (around 12 months to four years). Rearward-facing seats offer better protection for baby’s head, neck and spine. From birth up to 18kg.

Forward-facing, toddler
An ideal follow-on from an infant car seat, these are suitable from around nine months to four years. Optimised for protection, most have multi-recline positions so your tot can sleep in comfort. The harness keeps your child safe and the seat is secured in the car by the adult seat belt. From 9-18kg.

High back booster with harness
These are a longer term investment as they are suitable from nine months right through to 6 years. The integral harness is used until your child is 15kg or 18kg. At this stage, it can be removed and the adult seat belt used instead. From 9-36kg.

High back booster without harness
Suitable from around four until 12 years, the seat gives proper support and side-impact protection. Your child is raised up so that the adult seat belt fits more securely, safely and comfortably. The extra height also gives a better view, helping to relieve boredom and travel sickness. From 18-36kg.

These lightweight, portable seats without a back raise your child to adult seat belt level. Suitable from around four until 12 years, your child is assured a comfy ride thanks to the padded seat and armrests. Your child can look out more easily, helping to prevent travel sickness. From 18-36kg.

Your child’s car seat should not be undermined as it only provides maximum safety once it is cautiously selected and appropriately utilised. With these optimum tips, all parents should have a good idea of what to look for when making this crucial purchase.

Information Courtesy: Babyshop