Gulf News, July 23, 2000
A nationwide ban will be imposed next January 1 on children below the age of ten travelling in the front seats of vehicles. Colonel Mohammed Jassim Yousuf, Director of Traffic at the Ministry of Interior termed the new law a milestone in traffic safety, and called upon parents to observe the law even before it is enforced. Once the new law is introduced, children under ten will not be allowed to occupy the front seat of any motor vehicle. He said the new traffic law was the result of traffic fatality reports indicating an increasing number of child casualties due to carelessness on the part of parents and drivers.
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Did You Know?
The annual statistics showed children below 18 years made up 14 per cent of deaths in general and five per cent of road fatalities.
Road accident casualty statistics show 61 per cent of the minor, 27 per cent of the moderate and 7 per cent of severely injured are children below 18.
Majority of fatalities among our children are due to careless and ignorant parents and drivers.
Does Your Child ride in the back seat? Many of you might have heard that it is usually safer than the front seat. But do you know why?
- The back seat is safer because head-on crashes are the most common kind of accident.
- Infants must ride facing the rear of the car. In this position, the safety seat protects the head and back of the infants.
Does your car have an air bag for the front passenger seat? A passenger air bag can seriously harm a child riding in the front seat of the car.
An inflating passenger air bag can kill a baby in a rear-facing safety seat. An air bag also can be hazardous for children age 12 and under who ride facing forward. This is especially true if they are not properly buckled up in a safety seat, booster seat, or lap and shoulder belt.
In a crash, the air bag inflates very quickly. It would hit a rear-facing safety seat hard enough to kill the baby. Infants must ride in the back seat, facing the rear. Even in the back seat, do not turn your baby to face forward until he or she is about one year of age and weighs at least 20 pounds
Why Use Seat Belts?
People riding without belts or safety seats can be hurled out of the car and seriously hurt.
There must be one belt for each person. Buckling two people, even children, into one belt could injure both. Each child safety seat needs a safety belt to hold it in place.
If no shoulder belt is available, it is much safer for anyone (except small babies who can't sit up) to use just a lap belt than to ride loose.
Children who have outgrown safety seats are better protected by lap/shoulder belts than by lap belts alone. So if several children are riding in back, and there are shoulder belts there, let the older ones use the shoulder belts. Put the child riding in the car seat in the middle where there is only a lap belt.
Never hold a child on your lap because you could crush him in a collision. Even if you are using a safety belt, the child would be torn from your arms in a crash. Never put a belt around yourself and a child on your lap. Two people with one belt around them could injure each other.