Stats show UAE parents could do more to improve child car safety

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Although we like to talk about all of the fun technologies that auto-makers around the world are developing to keep us safer on the road, it’s worth bearing in mind that the people that can have the biggest impact on our safety, are ourselves. How we drive and how we utilise the safety equipment made available to us can make the biggest change to how likely we are to survive serious accidents. That goes doubly so for our children, who don’t know better and the statistics back this up.

One part of the world which is looking to address this is the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which has some of the worst cases of child deaths on the road in the world. In 2013, over 60 per cent of child deaths could be attributed to road accidents and over 40 per cent of parents don’t make their children use car seats. Those are very poor statistics that suggest a lot more could be done in the country to improve its road safety for children.

Founder and Managing Director of RoadSafetyUAE, Thomas Edelmann has been speaking about it to the KhaleeJTimes and he describes child safety on the road as “non-negotiable,” and something many more parents should take seriously.

“No belt, no start,” he said, suggesting that no parent should begin driving until all of their children are properly belted and seated. “It’s simple. I do love my son, and hence I do everything I can to protect him. Parents who do not buckle up their kids, make a clear and very sad statement about how much they care about their kids.”

Belt up kids. Image source: Steve Depolo.

Belt up kids. Image source: Steve Depolo.

Much like automakers around the world have pledged that within a few years time, none of their vehicles will ever be involved in injuring or killing passengers or drivers ever again, Dubai has recently made a pledge that none of its roads will have fatalities by 2020 .That’s a massive aim to make on a much larger scale than any of the ones by auto-manufacturers, so how does the city plan to do that?

“Schools, nurseries and the education sector. Prominent and consistent road safety education (needs to become) part of the curricula and road safety should be a vital part of a ‘lifestyle’ class, educating ‘the next generation’ on improving on the hot topics of the UAE society, like road safety,” Edelmann said. He went on to point out that educating children allowed them to be part of the safety process and would encourage parents to be more mindful in future too.

A law is also being planned to make using seatbelts in the backseat mandatory, much like the rest of the world, as at the moment it’s perfectly legal not to have your child belted in the back seat. Once that is in place, it’s thought that a new law will also be brought in to require parents to use safety seats for children under a certain age.

Those alone won’t go far enough to end road deaths in Dubai, but they would help a lot. What else do you think the country can do to end its high levels of child death road accidents?

Image source: Teekay72

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Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.