Dubai: Dubai Police’s Search and Rescue Department responded to 69 cases of children locked inside vehicles in the first eight months this year, compared to 76 cases last year, a top official said.
Lt Colonel Abdullah Ali Beshwa, director of the Land Rescue Department in Dubai Police, said despite the drop in the number of cases, the trend was still worrying.
“Parents should never leave their young children unattended in a car, not even for a few minutes. Children like to imitate their parents, and they will play around and they can lock themselves in or, even worse, move the car and cause accidents,” Lt Col Beshwa said.
He said people hear stories of children being locked in cars, but never think it can happen to them, so they take warnings lightly.
“Children can suffocate and die. We rescued 69 children locked inside cars this year,” he added.
The children locked inside cars were among 136 cases of children trapped in cars, houses or lifts since January.
“The number dropped by eight per cent compared to the same eight-month period last year when we had 148 cases of trapped children in total.”
He said these included 64 children trapped inside their homes and three who had to be rescued from lifts.
Last year, 148 children were rescued by police. Around 76 were saved from locked cars, 69 from homes and three from lifts.
Lt Col Beshwa said a sustained awareness campaign has helped to educate the public, especially the parents, of the danger of leaving children unattended in cars, lifts and houses.
“We are keen to reduce the number of trapped children. The law protects the child from any negligence. We usually refer the parents to police stations in cases of trapped children to sign a document promising not to keep the child unattended. This action has helped to reduce number of trapped children,” he said.
Dubai Police urged the public to alert police about any incidents of trapped children. Lt. Col Beshwa called on parents not to allow their children to use lifts alone and make sure the car is empty before locking it. “Parents should also be careful of run-over accidents involving children while parking cars inside their houses.”