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Roads seen as biggest hazard facing youngsters in the UAE

Traffic accidents are seen as one of the most common causes of injury to children, according to new research.

DUBAI // Traffic accidents are seen as one of the most common causes of injury to children, according to new research. A study released this week ahead of the Arab Children's Health Congress in Dubai next month indicates that accidents are frequent among children in the UAE and that more preventive education is needed. In a survey by YouGov, 42 per cent of respondents knew of children who had suffered from accidents or injuries occurring at home, school or on the roads.

About 70 per cent blamed road traffic accidents for much of the trauma affecting children, while drowning ranked high in the perception of 20 per cent and 53 per cent said burn-related accidents were common. The Dubai Health Authority, in partnership with the World Health Organisation, Unicef and the Arab League, is working to address the problem. The fourth ACHC, which is to be held under the patronage of Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, the wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will focus on accidents, injuries and trauma.

The event is one of the biggest of its kind in the Middle East and attracts health professionals, school representatives and international organisations. Dr Rowaida Al Maaitah, the head of the scientific committee for ACHC, said: "Every day around the world the lives of more than 2,000 families are torn apart by the loss of a child to an unintentional injury - a road traffic crash, a drowning, a burn, fall or poisoning, most of which could be prevented.

"Our own research emphasises the unsurprising but significant prevalence of such accidents in this region." Of the 758 respondents, 15 per cent said they did not talk to their own children or children they knew about how to prevent accidents. Seventy-four per cent said they worried about their children having accidents. The congress runs from April 20 to 22 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

munderwood@thenational.ae

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