The Abu Dhabi Police, ADP, warned families about the risk of seating children under the age of 10 in the front seat of vehicles, stressing that drivers should use child seats to protect children from traffic accidents and ensure their safety.
The ADP urged parents to be aware of the major risks posed by placing their children on their laps while driving, highlighting its keenness to promote the culture of traffic and raise awareness of relevant preventive measures and how to safely seat children in vehicles.
It also pointed out the importance of seating children under the age of four in appropriate child seats.
UAE traffic law to protect children
According to the traffic law, children under 10 are not allowed to sit in the front seat of vehicles. They should be put in a child seat and restrained by the seatbelt when being seated in the rear of the vehicle. This must be followed till the child becomes as tall as 145cm. "When they reach this height, they should then use seat belts," ADP added.
Car crashes one of the leading causes of death in children
Motor-vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death among children, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). In the UAE it is critical for parents to ensure that their children are properly secured with age- and weight-appropriate child safety seats to prevent any fatal injuries.
The use of seat-belts and child restraints is one of the most important actions that can be taken to prevent injury in a motor vehicle crash and a passnger's chances of survival increase dramatically when properly restrained.
According to WHO, car safety seats are specifically designed to protect infants and young children from injury during a collision or a sudden stop by restraining their movement away from the vehicle structure and distributing the forces of a crash over the strongest parts of the body, with minimum damage to the soft tissues. They are particularly crucial for infants, as babies do not have well-developed neck and spine and their skull bones are not fused.
Car safety seats reduce risk of death by 71%
According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), a properl fitted child safety seat can reduce the risk of death in infants up to the age of one by 71 per cent and in children between the age of one and four by 54 per cent.
It is important to ensure that you are using the correct car seat for your child's age and weight, and that the car seat is fitted properly. Car seats may be rear-facing or forward-facing, and can be secured using a harness or a safety shield. European guidelines recommend that children remain in a rear-facing car seat until they are four years old, while American guidelines recommend children remain rear-facing until they are two. For the World Health Organisation's guidelines on car safety seats for children see here.
Fines for those in UAE not abiding by traffic law
It is UAE law that all passengers in a car are required to wear seat belts including those sitting in the rear seat, failing which the driver of the vehicle will be fined Dh400 and slapped with four black points.
Additionally, children up to four years of age must be provided with a child safety seat. Violators will be fined Dh400 and slapped with four black points.