DUBAI // Children must be buckled up safely in child car seats to protect them in case of a crash, a new road-safety campaign is telling school pupils.
Be a Road Safety Star is a child safety seat awareness campaign launched by Quick Registration, a vehicle testing centre in Dubai, and baby goods retailer Just Kidding.
“Children aged 0 to 7 are the most critical age group affected by road accidents in the UAE, so educating children as early as possible in their lives about road safety is vital,” said Kaja Vastic, the centre’s business development and marketing executive, and campaign organiser.
“It’s important we protect them and nurture the next generation of responsible road-traffic participants.”
Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among children in the UAE.
The centre will work with Dubai schools to educate on road safety and the use of child seats, which are known to reduce the risk of fatal injuries to children by 71 per cent.
The campaign kicked off at Oaktree Primary School in Al Quoz, Dubai, with safety sessions for pupils aged 5 to 7.
“At Oaktree, we recognise the importance of health and safety in everything that we do,” principal Chris McDermott said.
“This extends beyond the time that the children spend in school. One of the most hazardous parts of the day is when children are being taken to and from school, and we want to make sure that children are empowered to know about road safety.”
It is hoped that the pupils will share their knowledge with parents so the whole family can be conscious of road safety with every journey, organisers said.
Phil Clarke, principal road safety consultant at the Transport Research Laboratory, welcomed the move, saying there had been similar road-safety programmes in the UK.
“It seems like an excellent initiative in Dubai,” he said. “I would be interested to know the results if it is evaluated.”
There is no law making it mandatory for young children to be strapped into safety seats.
“Children who are not old enough to have their feet touch the floor of the car when they are properly seated should be secured in child seats,” said Glenn Havinoviski, a transport expert in the US.
“Others, along with their parents, should be wearing their seat belts.”
Generally, children need to use a booster until they are at least 149 centimetres tall and weigh between 36 and 45 kilograms, Safe Kids Worldwide says.
This means most children will be aged between 8 and 12 when they start to use adult seat belts.
To take part in Be a Road Safety Star, schools can visit quickregistration.ae or email firstname.lastname@example.org.