child on balcony - Abu Dhabi Police
During the winter, people open up their windows or balcony doors to let fresh air in. But children might use this opportunity to climb on a piece of furniture or the balcony bars to look outside. To prevent tragic falls from happening, Abu Dhabi police has advised parents not leave their children unsupervised on balconies. Image Credit: Instagram/ADPoliceHQ

DUBAI: Unattended children, balconies and furniture - this is an extremely dangerous mix, which Abu Dhabi Police has warned parents to be aware of.

In a video posted on its official social media channels, the police authority showed how children who are left unattended by parents or guardians can get curious and explore variuos areas of the house. When it comes to balconies, in particular, if children are left unattended they can try to look at the cars driving by outside, and even use furniture lying around nearby to get a better look, making them susceptible to falling.

This awareness video is part of the ongoing campaign launched by Abu Dhabi Police, titled 'Our winter is safe and enjoyable', which started on December 12.

During the winter months people take advantage of the drop in temperature by heading out to parks, camping sites or cycling. While it is the perfect time for families and friends to do outdoor physical activities, there are also potential risks for accidents, if necessary safety precautions are not taken. To ensure that people are able to enjoy the winter months safely, Abu Dhabi Police is running this concerted campaign.

Here are the various elements of this campaign:

1. Keep children safe

Abu Dhabi Police cautioned parents to keep furniture away from windows and balconies to prevent their children from falling out.
Abu Dhabi Police cautioned parents to keep furniture away from windows and balconies to prevent their children from falling out. Image Credit: Screengrab from Instagram/Abu Dhabi Police HQ

Police authorities across the UAE regularly raise awareness on the topic, as they register cases of children falling from balconies. Abu Dhabi Police advised parents to install metal bars and child safety locks to prevent children from opening balcony doors. The authority also asked parents to remove furniture from the balcony or any large toys that might be within the reach of the child. Children can move light pieces of furniture closer to the baclony bars or walls and climb on it to see outside. This can unfortunatlety lead to tragic falls and serious injuries.

The authority is also conducting workshops and lectures to parents about protecting children from falling from buildings and the dangers of leaving children unsupervised at camps and public parks.

9 ways to keep your child safe
In 2019, Abu Dhabi Police provided nine simple steps that parents can take to keep children safe:

1. Do not leave furniture adjacent to windows, as curious children can use them to climb in order to see what is going on below.
2. Set down rules when older children, or teenagers, are allowed to go into balconies.
3. Always close windows for the safety of children, especially when parents are not present, as most windows can be easily opened.
4. Install metal barriers on the windows and ensure that the distance between each rail is too small for a child to squeeze through.
5. Install window locks and keep all furniture away.
6. Remove large children's toys away from windows as they can also be used to climb near the ledge.
7. Always close the balcony door.
8. Place all the keys for the windows and the balcony in a place that children cannot reach easily.
9. Do not allow older children to use the balcony as an area to entertain friends.

2. Safety at camping sites

The authority also said that it would be assessing the level of safety at camps and provide training through workshops and lectures.

Additionally, it would be educating parents to not leave children in the camps unsupervised and urging them to abide by the laws and regulations.

Winter in the UAE
Abu Dhabi police warned parents no to leave their children unattended at camping sites. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

3. Safe use of motorcycles

With the weather improving, the UAE sees an uptick in people using motorcycles and quadbikes for lesiure activities. The campaign by Abu Dhabi Police will also educate people to not use motorcycles in a dangerous way or to perform stunts that may disturb others.

Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Pixabay

4. Avoid using coal and firewood for heating purposes indoors

Abu Dhabi Police also reminded people that the danger of suffocation while heating at night is very real. This is why authorities in the past have warned residents to not use fossil fuel heaters indoors. In January 2020, two domestic workers died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a villa in Dubai, with Dubai Police also warning residents of the dangers of using coal or firewood for heating purposes, and observing that six deaths were recorded in 2019 due to similar reasons.

Coal burner
Burning coal and firewood indoor can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Image Credit: Dubai Police

5. Want to ride a cycle? Be safe

The campaign will also include tips and advice on the importance of bicycle riders committing to designated bicycle lanes and not going in the opposite direction when cycling on roads. When cycling in parks, cyclists have been advised to stay away from crowded.

cycle track in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi police advises cyclists to use the designated cycling lanes. Image Credit: Gulf News archives