Dubai Police warn parents after rescuing more than 200 children trapped in cars

Distracted parents could have deadly consequences

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Parents are putting their children in danger by accidentally locking them in cars while distracted by shopping bags or phone calls, police in Dubai have said.

The force rescued 86 children from cars in the first nine months of this year, while a further 112 had to be rescued from their homes.

The figures, reported by The National's Arabic language sister newspaper Alroeya, mean that around five children per week are rescued from vehicles or homes in the emirate, often due to the carelessness of parents or other carers.

A further six children were rescued from lifts, bringing the total figure to 204.

Lt Col Abdullah Bishwah, head of the Land Rescue Department at Dubai Police's General Directorate of Transport and Rescue, said the problem persisted despite awareness campaigns. Shopping and phone calls were often the reasons children were forgotten, he said.

Some smaller children, he said, could be left helpless if they were left in cars.

In one case police responded to, he said a mother had gone up to her flat and started cooking a meal, leaving her child behind.

It was only because a pedestrian spotted the forgotten infant and police managed to prise open a window that the child, who was showing signs of exhaustion, was saved. When the mother was contacted she thought she had taken him with her and that he was asleep in bed.

In a tragic case in Dubai this year, a six-year-old died after being left on a school bus in soaring temperatures.

Lt Col Bishwah called on members of the public to get in the habit of not leaving their vehicle until after they had inspected it, and to keep keys out of reach of children so they could not lock themselves inside rooms. Parents should also meet children from school buses when they are dropped off, he said.