A new initiative called 'Ghalai', also known as the Qatar National Child Passenger Safety Programme, was unveiled by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) earlier today at the Women’s Wellness and Research Centre (WWRC), which is aimed towards creating and promoting awareness on the importance of using car seats for children under the age of 12 among parents, reported The Peninsula.
The initiative which has been taken jointly by the MoPH, Ministry of Interior, Saleh Al Hamad Al Mana Company, Hamad Medical Corporation and Conoco Philips is the first step taken by Qatar in this direction and plans are underway to pass a law that would make car seats for children compulsory. Another law that may be passed, in addition to this one, is one that will make it compulsory for anyone, including adults, sitting in the rear passenger seats of a vehicle to wear a seat belt.
There will be a special 'Ghalai' station at the WWRC, which will have experts in passenger safety and they will help parents to correctly fit car seats in their cars and show them exactly how to use them to ensure the safety of their children
The aim of the awareness campaign on the need for car seats for children which will lead to a law being passed making car seats compulsory is a great initiative of the government which is committed to keeping all those living in the country safe, especially young children who are more susceptible to injuries in case of a car accident.
More often than not, we see children hanging out of the windows, standing up in moving vehicles with their heads popping out of the sun roofs and jumping around in the back seat. We, sometimes, also see adults with their small children on their laps while they are driving. All these scenarios present child safety hazards in cars because children are not restrained in seat belts or car seats depending on their age and size.
One of the main reasons why seat belts are compulsory for the driver and front seat passenger and should be compulsory for rear seat passengers is that, if there is a car accident, there is a likelihood that if any of these passengers is ejected from the car because of the impact, hits another of the car’s passengers or the car’s inner frame, in 75% cases, someone is likely to die.
If a car travelling at even 50 kilometres per hour is in a car accident and a child is not in a child restraint (car seat, booster seat or seat belt), he/she may be flung forwards with a force that is 30 - 60 times the body weight and tossed around the car’s interior or even ejected through a window of the car causing them and the other passengers severe injury or even death.
Dr. Ayman El-Menyar, a Research Consultant at HMC, Hamad Trauma Centre (HTC), has made it very clear that if drivers and passengers are not using restraints (seat belts, car seats or booster seats), there is a higher chance of death or sustaining a life-threatening injury if in a car accident. Drivers without seat belts are 5 times more likely to die, front seat passengers without seat belts are 4 times more likely to die and those in the back seats are 7 times more likely to die if not wearing restraints. If all passengers in a car including the driver are restrained (seat belts, car seats and booster seats), the number of injuries and deaths can be reduced by over ½.
According to the HTC which conducted a survey of 443 patients (0 - 18 years) for injuries suffered as passengers, drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and all-terrain vehicle users it was found that only 1.2% of passengers and drivers were using a seatbelt or a car seat. In fact, risk of car accident related injuries actually follows an age-dependent pattern.
Without a restraint (car seat, booster seat or seat belt) depending on the age of the child passenger, the chances of being killed in an accident or suffering a severe brain trauma increases by 400%, but if all children are restrained in cars every time, 40 children could be saved every year and more than 100 serious brain traumas could be prevented.
If a child is seated in the lap of an adult in the front passenger seat or even on the driver, and the car is involved in a car accident, the child will probably be torn from the adult’s arms even when the adult is wearing a seat belt and tries to hold on to the child or may get crushed between the adult and the car’s dashboard. That’s why it is important to always seat children in the rear passenger seats in appropriate restraints.
What do you think of this initiative? Are you happy that such a law will be passed? Do you restrain your children in car seats when they travel in the car with you? Do let us know your thoughts in our Comments section. Like and share the article - it keeps us going!
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