x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 25 November 2017

Do not underestimate dangers of your home, UAE parents told

Some parents may underestimate the risk of their children falling from high-rise buildings, paediatricians say.

ABU DHABI // Parents are underestimating the risks of their children falling from high-rise buildings, paediatricians say.

“They definitely are underestimating this issue that is 100 per cent preventable,” said Dr Taisser Atrak, head of the Mafraq Hospital paediatrics department and a child-safety expert.

“These kids are not mature enough to make decisions. They are playing alone on balconies and near windows with furniture around the windows.”

Children face three main risks, depending on the age group, said Dr Ahed Bisharat, consultant of general paediatrics at Burjeel Hospital.

Toddlers do not have perception of height and may not realise there is a long distance down.

And school-age children who understand falling risks sometimes try to imitate characters they see jumping or flying in movies or on TV, the doctors said.

Other times, they may play aggressively and unintentionally push each other, said Dr Atrak.

Parents may not realise that any child under the age of 12 or 13 should be monitored, thinking older children may not be in danger of falling, he said.

Pre-teens could have psychological or emotional problems leading them to want to commit suicide, said Dr Bisharat.

Parents need to watch their children “very carefully”, he said, and explain to them that superheroes or characters are not real and pay attention to their psychological states.

They should also make sure to lock windows and balconies when they leave the house.

Children’s heads are proportionally larger to their bodies than adults’, something parents may not realise, the doctors said.

“When they are bending from balconies or windows, their weight will pull them down to fall down,” said Dr Bisharat.

He said parents may be too busy working or with social activities to dedicate enough time to their children.

“No matter how old the child is, they may not make the right decision, simply because they are kids. Kids are not adults. They always need parents’ guidance,” said Dr Atrak.

lcarroll@thenational.ae