Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Buckle up in the Back Dubai

Kids bouncing about unrestrained in cars are a common sight in Dubai, along with babies being held on the knees of passengers. I've even witnessed infants being dandled on the knee of the driver. You've probably experienced my rants about this before... but please keep reading.

I recently met the very lovely Lesley Cully, the founder of Buckle up in the Back Dubai, who inspired me to stop merely grumbling about the foolishness of parents who fail to strap their kids into car seat belts and actually help her, in whatever small (or big) way I can.

The aim of Buckle up in the Back Dubai is to get the law changed so everyone has to strap their kids in to the appropriate child restraints, to provide continued education in schools on the importance of wearing a seat belt and to promote proper enforcement of any law that is brought in for wearing a seatbelt.

In case you're not convinced, here are some hard, cold facts...

  • Between 2000 and 2006, 450 children under 14 years who were not wearing seat belts or restrained in child seats died in road accidents in the UAE, according to ministry statistics. Two thirds of the victims were under four. (Source: The National)
  • A number of studies of accident outcomes suggest that fatality rates among car occupants are reduced by between 30-50% if seat belts are worn. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that death risks for a driver wearing a lap-shoulder seat belt are reduced by 48%. (Source: US NHTSA)
  • Research on the effectiveness of child safety seats has found them to reduce fatal injury by 71% for infants less than 1 year old and by 54% for toddlers 1-4 years old in cars. (Source: FARS - NHTSA)
  • Around 40 front seat passengers are killed every year in Britain as a result of the back seat passenger being unrestrained. During a collision an unrestrained child sat in the back can hit the driver with a force equivalent to the weight of a baby elephant. (Source: Buckinghamshire County Council)
So, if you're a Dubai resident, what can you do?

Go to Lesley's Facebook page and start reading, then sign up to get her tweets. Get yourself a 'Buckle up in the Back' sticker and display it on your car. Write in to 7Days. Blog or microblog about it. Tell your friends. Get your kids to tell their friends. The more noise we make, the more likely we are to see real change.

Finally, take pictures of the worst examples you see on the Dubai roads and email them to me, I'll post them here. To start you off, here's one especially intelligent chap who thought he'd let his kid have a bit of fun on the way home from school last week...

(That's right, the child really is standing up through the sunroof...)


Dubai mum said...

I can't believe that picture its crazy. the driver should be arrested for child endangrment and abuse.

Anonymous said...

I see children without seatbelts on all the time in Dubai. It's mad. The law should be changed and anyone who cares about children will agree. Thanks for this it is time to make a difference.

Grace @ Sandier Pastures said...

Too many parents are simply stupid in terms of safety. People with seat belts sometimes die because of accidents, how much more for those who don't wear them!?

I hate to see parents, especially moms letting their children do anything at the back. What if they accidentally open the door for example?

I hope this program spreads to everyone!

By the way, thanks for including my blog in the "Dubai Reads" corner of your left sidebar. :-)

YEM said...

So right, it's not just about being in a crash while unrestrained, it's also what could happen while the kids are bouncing around. Tricky enough avoiding the pitfalls of Dubai's roads without being distracted by what's going on in your back seat as well.

A pleasure to include you in my top reads, your blog is great.

Anonymous said...

I notice the car is going over a spped bump. lets hope its slowly or the poor child will go into orbit.....

Miss Stovetop said...

I had to argue with my mum in law when we were bringing my baby home from the hospital that car seats are actually a good thing. Back in India, car seats are almost unheard of in most places, and of course she had to bring out the "Oh we've brought up 3 of our own and never had to put them in there" argument. And of course I had to hear what an evil mommy I am to let my baby cry and grunt in displeasure "trapped" in that seat the few times she didn't like it. Hrmph.

Very often people take out kids from the car seats because they are crying inconsolably, but that's really not right either. You must might another way to divert their attention.