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Motorists in Oman urged to use child seats

More than 45 children under the age of six died last year

Gulf News

Muscat: Increasing fatalities on Oman’s roads, especially of toddlers, continues to be a major worry and organisers of the Traffic Safety Expo 2012, to be held in October, have already begun campaign urging residents to use child seats.

According to Royal Oman Police (ROP) statistics, more than 45 children under the age of six died last year with 345 injured in road accidents in Oman.

The police have blamed these deaths on negligence on the part of road users. “Proper child seats would reduce the death and accident rates of children by at least 70 per cent,” an officer with the ROP’s Traffic Department said.

According to Saeed Al Badawi, spokesperson for the ROP’s Public Relations Department, 555 people died on Oman’s roads from January 1 to July 3 of this year, 93 more than the same period last year.

The rate of traffic-related deaths has gone up from around 75 a month to 90 this year in the first six months.

Not an option

Talking about children, Alawi Al Murazza, a representative on the committee for the Traffic Safety Expo, said that riding unrestrained is not an option for children.

“Improper restraints will cause the child to move with the same speed as the vehicle before he crashes into a windshield or mirror,” he pointed out.

Al Murazza, who works with Oman International Trade and Exhibitions (OITE), main organisers of the Expo, warned that restraining toddlers with seatbelts was not a proper option.

“Usage of seatbelts for a child is considered just as dangerous, becuase seatbelts are designed for adults,” he reckons.

In his opinion children restrained by seatbelts could suffer severe head and spinal injuries.

“Small children should also never sit on the lap of mothers in the front seat of the vehicle since in the event of a crash, the setting off of the airbag can result in suffocating the child,” he advised.

He reiterated that the best safety option for a child is the child seat which should be selected on the basis of what fits the child perfectly, based on the child’s weight not age.

He said that the Traffic Safety Expo 2012, to be held in conjunction with the ROP, will bring representatives from the public and private sector together with visitors to support the cause for safety measures and practices that need to be taken up by citizens of the country.