DUBAI 1 August 2017: The UAE has a new traffic law – more stringent and more expensive – to save lives, as road accidents are a major cause of fatalities in the country.
The safety of children driving along in the car is a major focus in the new regulations – as it should be. It is our job as responsible members of the community to help the authorities raise awareness.
ServiceMarket, one of leading online marketplaces for home services in the UAE, has supplied Emirates News 24|7 with 5 key tips on how to ensure the safety of children in your car.
1. Seat belts and child seats save lives
One cannot stress enough how important it is to always wear a seat belt, and this urgency only magnifies if your passengers include children. Children of 4 years of age or younger must be secured in a child seat according to the UAE’s traffic laws, and it’s important not to seat any children aged 10 or below in the front seat. Having a child sit in the front seat significantly increases the risk of injury in an accident and the airbag can cause fatal injuries in children below the height requirement. Kids grow quickly, which means that you might need a bigger car seat sooner than you expected. Keep track of your child’s height and weight and install a new car seat when they become taller or heavier than the specified capacity. While fastening your children’s seat belts, always tighten and test them to ensure that your child is secure. You might also want to consider buying a buckle lock for your seat belts so that your kids cannot unfasten themselves at any point.
2. Never leave children in the car alone for any period of time
Given UAE’s climate, where temperatures can peak at 49℃ on the hottest days, you should never leave kids in the car for any period of time. Infants are very susceptible to heat strokes, and can become ill due to the heat in very short amounts of time. At no point should you leave your child alone in the car, but in case of an emergency (such as a car maintenance issue that requires you to exit the car), you should try to move the car to the shade, keep the air conditioning running and supply your children and any other passengers with plenty of chilled water.
3. Make sure your car has child locks enabled
Most cars have child locks to prevent your children from opening the car doors themselves. There are times where you might turn off the lock when commuting with friends or older family members so remember to check the lock and switch it on before every ride. When riding in someone else’s car, remember to ask the driver to turn on the child-lock before they start driving. Moreover, if your car windows are controlled remotely by the driver, make sure to set the windows on lock as well. If it becomes absolutely necessary to pull down the windows, then let it open just enough so that your child cannot toss anything outside or stick their hands out.
4. Plan activities to keep them from getting bored
When kids have to sit in one spot for a while, they can get pretty fidgety and this can compromise their safety. When you’re the one at the wheel, you need to give your full attention to the road and cannot let yourself get distracted by your kids. One way to prevent that is to plan out some games and activities to keep them entertained. This is particularly important for longer trips. Play their favourite music, let them watch a movie on your tablet or try some simple games like getting them to count all the red cars that they can spot on their side. This way, your kids have something safe to do while you’re busy driving.
5. Teach your child the importance of car safety
You can make your children responsible for their own well-being by teaching them the importance of car safety. Instill good habits, such as putting on the seat belt without being told to, not walking behind cars in a car park, staying seated until the car stops moving, and not getting out of the car on a busy road without your guidance. Have them memorise important numbers, such as the police and an emergency contact number, and if they are old enough teach them the correct steps to take in the unfortunate case you’re in a car accident.
As a responsible parent, you should follow these 5 car safety tips to the T, even for short trips. Doing so will ensure that your children are not put in unnecessary danger and it will prevent them from being injured in the unlikely case of a car accident.
By Eudore R. Chand