Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Health Insurance Company (DAMAN) has donated 700 maxi-cosi car seats to the Corniche Hospital in Abu Dhabi.

The hospital, an Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) facility, has announced a strict policy commencing in June, whereby every newborn discharged from Corniche Hospital will ride home in his/her first protective, infant car seat.

The Abu Dhabi Health Insurance Company (DAMAN) has donated 700 maxi-cosi car seats, made by the European manufacturer, to the hospital.

In a traffic survey conducted by UAE University, it was found that most children travel with their parents in vehicles not wearing any safety devices. Securing a child in a children's car seat and placing it in the rear seat of the car could prevent 71 percent  of infant fatalities and 54 percent of toddler’s fatalities.

This initiative comes under the guidance of Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, who stresses on the importance of upgrading a mother’s level of child care, and overall child safety and security. 

The car seats will be distributed to every newborn at Corniche Hospital, free of charge starting June and a specialized team from the Hospital will train new parents on the proper installation.

"As one of the premier maternity health care facilities in the region, Corniche Hospital is proud to make a positive contribution to the public in the UAE including the road safety of newborns. We have been working with Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the United States on this initiative. We are delighted to partner with the leading health insurance company in the region - Daman in launching the project,” said Ron Lavater, Chief Executive Officer of Corniche Hospital.

Daman’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Michael Bitzer, said: “Promoting child-safety procedures falls within Daman’s continuous efforts in building public awareness and support for issues that affect the well-being of the community. Supporting Corniche Hospital in this initiative would definitely encourage parents to install the recommended car seat for newborns to ensure a safe ride home.”

Currently, UAE traffic laws dictate that children are to be securely fastened by seat belts in the rear seats of the vehicle and children under 10 years of age are not allowed to ride in the front seat.

At the 2009 Gulf Traffic Conference in Dubai, it was mentioned that in a recent study, car seats are mandatory in North America, UK and Europe, and are said to prevent around 53,000 injuries and 500 deaths of children aged four years and younger every year, if properly used.

The aim of this project is to help parents take responsibility for their child safety. This initiative is the first step in helping parents to protect their children on the road for years to come,” said Amira Wali, Director of Public Health and Communications, Corniche Hospital.

“Our dedicated, full-time educators will continue to distribute free car seats on-site until a law that compels parents to take road safety seriously is passed.”