Making car seats for children mandatory is part of Abu Dhabi’s strategy to help reduce road traffic injuries and mortality rates. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Interior is in the process of making it mandatory for parents to have separate car seats for children, highlighting the importance of road safety.

According to the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the UAE, affecting up to 63 per cent of children between the ages of 0 to 14, which is higher than the global percentage of 22.3 per cent.

Strategy

"The ministry is currently discussing black points and fine details related to car seats for children under a particular age. Making car seats for children mandatory is part of our 2010 strategy plan to help reduce road traffic injuries and mortality rates — similar to most of the developed world and according to international standards," Brigadier Gaith Hassan Al Za'abi, Director General for Traffic Coordination, told Gulf News.

After the success of the first phase of the campaign "Drive Safe, Save Lives" which focused on the dangers of speed and the importance of seat belts, the HAAD has decided to launch another campaign, with the focus on protecting children from accidents, whether inside the car or while crossing the street.

HAAD statistics show that 98 per cent of child passengers are not properly strapped in the UAE; 28 per cent of children sit in the front seats despite this being prohibited by the interior ministry, and 96 per cent of children are not seated well.

The Corniche Hospital is the only hospital in the UAE that provides parents with car seats for newborns.

Seating arrangement

  • Children under 12 years should be placed in the back, middle seat of the car
  • It is important to choose the correct car seat for your child based on their weight and height
  • Infants should be in a rear-facing infant only seat or convertible seat until they're about 1 year or 13 kilos
  • Toddlers can use a forward facing car seat until they are about 18 kilos or their ears have reached the top of the car seat
  • Children over 18 kilos should be placed into a belt positioning booster seat
  • Parents can ask the car seat retailer about the best car seat for their child. Or they can visit the New Born Safety Centre at Corniche Hospital which has a range of car seat samples to show parents who have children of all ages.

Source: Corniche Hospital

How to do it

The education session for parents consists of information about general child safety, the importance of using a car seat and the consequences of not using one. Parents are shown how to position a newborn in the seat. They are also shown how to install the car seat. Parents are then asked to demonstrate to the lecturer that they fully understand and know how to install the seats themselves.

Have your say
Have you come across similar situations while driving? Do you think this mandate will help reduce the number of road-related child deaths? Tell us.