There's no disputing that car seat belts and child safety seats save lives. But the habit of buckling up has not caught on in the UAE, despite the alarming rate of car accident-related deaths and injuries. According to statistics from the UAE University and Health Authority - Abu Dhabi, 98 per cent of children in the Emirates are not restrained in car seats when they travel, while only 29 per cent of drivers wear seat belts. The data, released in conjunction with BMW Group Middle East's Stay Alert Stay Alive road safety campaign, also showed that traffic accidents last year accounted for 63 per cent of all child deaths in the country.
Launching its safety campaign earlier this year, BMW gave away more than 3,000 child booster seats as part of its efforts to raise awareness of the importance of buckling up. And since June, the Corniche Hospital in Abu Dhabi has been giving Maxi-Cosi car seats to parents of newborns in its First Ride is a Safe Ride initiative. Studies have shown that up to 83 per cent of belted and restrained children remain uninjured in accidents, so there's no excuse not to use a child safety seat. After all, our children are our future.
Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix Infant Carrier
Age From newborn to about 12 months, or a maximum of 13kg.
Features The rear-facing CabrioFix offers side-impact protection, newborn support with a head hugger and a three-point, one-pull harness. Easy to install, the carrier is also compatible with Isofix, a relatively new safety standard that allows baby carriers and child seats to be fixed in cars without using adult seat belts.
The view According to www.car-safety.org, rear-facing carriers are the safest vessel for babies when travelling in cars because they "face a greater risk of spinal cord injury in a front-facing car seat during a frontal crash".
Pro Tec SA-ATS
Age From nine months to four years, or from 9kg to a maximum of 18kg.
Features We all know how hard it is to keep a toddler still for even a few minutes, and strapping them into a car can be a hard task. But Pro Tec says its child seat features the latest safety technology, including a patented shock-absorbing system that reduces strain on the child in case of an accident, as well as air ventilation grids that provide extra comfort - and might even stop the squirming. It also reclines to four positions, a great feature for sleeping on those long trips.
The view Experts say the all-important five-point fixed safety harness, which is used in the Pro Tec chair, is a key feature to look out for when buying safety seats for toddlers.
Cybex Solution X
Age From four years to 11 years, or from 15kg to about 36kg.
Features Believe it or not, children up to the age of 11 years should still be using a safety or booster seat as they are not big enough for adult seat belts. The Cybex offers side impact protection to ensure the head and shoulder areas are protected, a reclining backrest and an adjustable headrest, which means that even if they fall asleep, their heads are kept within the safety zone of the chair.
The view According to www.babycenter.com, an adult seat belt can "cause injury in the event of a crash rather than preventing it" if a child is not using a booster or safety seat.