x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Dubai Police launch campaign for child safety

More than 50,000 pupils will be taught topics ranging from seat belts to bullies as campaign organisers visit schools.

DUBAI // A broad-sweeping campaign to teach more than 50,000 pupils how to stay safe in all facets of life has been launched by Dubai Police.
Organisers of Child Safety Campaign 2013 will visit 50 schools to address topics as varied as the importance of wearing seat belts and dangers that lurk on the internet.
Handling emergencies and bullying are also among the topics.
"Children should be our priority and instilling safety in them at a young age will only help them and those around them be more secure," said Capt Juma Al Suwaidi, head of the drugs-awareness section at Dubai Police.
Police and staff from Belhasa Driving Centre, which initiated the campaign, will speak to pupils between the ages of 5 and 12.
The children will also be given My Big Child Safety Book, an activity booklet that addresses the subjects covered and advises them on what to do in case of emergencies.
"They're the ones sitting around at home or in the car," said Saif Belhasa, chairman of the Saif Belhasa Group. "They need to know what to do in case of a fire or if their parents have a heart attack."
Then there is the growing problem of cyber bullying.
"As adults we know what is out there online but this book will also teach us how to handle these situations when we sit down with our children," Mr Belhasa said.
Haresh Vaswani, managing director of Adverk, the advertising agency responsible for the booklet, said the literature aimed to help parents and children to deal with cyber bullying.
"As new avenues are created there are always going to be bullies out there to take advantage," Mr Vaswani said. "Globally, more than 12 per cent of teenagers have experienced cyber bullying in one form or another."
Another topic addressed in the book was the importance of seatbelts and the use of child car seats.
Capt Al Suwaidi said although child seats were not mandatory, children under the age of 12 were not allowed to ride in the front and had to wear seatbelts in the back seat.
"Many times I see parents happy to put their children in the front seat so they can be next to them, and I tell them it's wrong," said Mr Belhasa. "If something happens they will be the ones regretting it in the end."
Mr Vaswani said seatbelts were not enough and that authorities should enforce child safety seats for younger children.
"Many parents still don't use car seats and many think they are for newborn babies only," he said.
Aditya Vyas, marketing manager of Babyshop in the UAE, a campaign sponser, said only 50 per cent of parents were aware of the proper ways to keep children safe in cars.
"Awareness is the most important thing and we try to educate parents about the importance of using car seats," Mr Vyas said.
Mr Vaswani said his favourite part of the book was that it would bring parents and children closer together.
"Many children don't even know how to dial 999 and this book will help them [parents] teach their kids the basics," he said.
"After learning, children will correct their parents. They will tell them 'Why aren't you wearing your seat belt? You shouldn't talk on the phone while driving.'"
Some of the schools participating include the Winchester School, Our Own English High School and the American Academy for Girls in Ras Al Khaimah.
The campaign will continue until April 25.
 
tsubaihi@thenational.ae