Almost none of the children polled knew what number to call for an ambulance, the survey revealed as part of its findings Image Credit: Supplied

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Sharjah: More than four in five children (82 per cent) do not know important emergency phone numbers, a new survey by Sharjah’s Child Safety Department (CSD) has found.

CSD, an affiliate of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah, announced details of the survey that was held during Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival in May.

What the survey shows

The results reveal that 82 per cent of children, from a random sample of 108 in the four to 12 age group across nationalities, are unaware of important emergency phone numbers, which are vital in reaching out for help during real-life emergencies.

According to the survey, 71 per cent of children admitted to not knowing the Child Protection Centre hotline number, 74 per cent did not know the police hotline number, 94 per cent did not know the ambulance services number, and 89 per cent did not know the civil defence number.

Call these numbers from anywhere in the UAE
• 999 for Police
• 998 for Ambulance
• 997 for Fire Department (Civil Defence)
• 996 for Coastguard
• 116111 for Child Protection Centre

Awareness campaign

Hanadi Al Yafei, director of CSD, said: “The outcome of the survey, conducted as part of CSD’s activities during SCRF, has revealed the need to intensify efforts and strengthen measures to raise children’s awareness of being prepared in a time of crisis. Teaching children to memorise important helpline numbers could save lives and keep them safe during an emergency. The survey results emphasise the vital need for a new and innovative campaign to heighten awareness to ensure the highest levels of safety and protection for the younger generations.”

She added: “CSD is committed to raising awareness amongst all segments of society about the importance of protecting children from neglect, abuse and exploitation, and to safeguard their rights and ensure their upbringing in a safe and nurturing environment, in partnership with relevant bodies and institutions.”

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Positive findings

Amongst some of the positive findings from the CSD survey are that 72 per cent of children from the random sample had memorised the phone number of a parent. The same percentage of children also admitted to using seatbelts while on the road, while 80 per cent refrained from sticking their heads and bodies out of the windows of moving vehicles.

The young participants in the survey also showed high levels of awareness of the safety procedures to follow in the case of a fire, notwithstanding the fact that a good percentage admitted to not knowing the civil defence hotline number.

The survey served as a wake-up call for parents and society to raise awareness of safety practices amongst children from a young age to enable them to take the right actions in the eventuality of an emergency that could otherwise endanger the child’s own safety or those around him or her.