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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Hospitals offer new National Day babies a helping hand with free car seats

Devices offered to parents to mark 46th National Day

Parents can be fined Dh400 with four black points on their licence if children are found in the front seat. Reem Mohammed / The National
Parents can be fined Dh400 with four black points on their licence if children are found in the front seat. Reem Mohammed / The National

As families across the UAE welcomed new additions on National Day, Dubai Health Authority seized the opportunity to help reinforce the message of securing children safely in cars at all times.

Marking the 46th National Day, the DHA teamed up with Johnson’s Baby to give away free car safety seats to each new born at all government and private hospitals in Dubai.

More than 400 families benefitted from the scheme, with a strong message handed out by hospitals on making sure the first trip experienced by infants on their way home was a safe one.

Babies born until December 4 will qualify for the free safety seat as part of the ‘A Gift for My Baby on National Day’ project.

“The DHA continuously works on educating the community, particularly mothers and parents, and encourage them to take all measures required to ensure children’s safety and health whether inside or outside the vehicle,” said Ghanim Abdullah Lootah, director of marketing and corporate communication at the DHA.

“These free baby car seats are being delivered with an awareness guidelines booklet and an additional gift to newborns in hospitals.

“We launched a widespread campaign for the initiative, including large outdoor adverts and others in the Arabic and English newspapers in addition to a promotional advertising on social media.

“This has shown the importance of teamwork among our partners in the health and public safety areas, and the response from hospitals towards the initiative.

“The CSR of hospitals in Dubai is contributing to ensuring the DHA’s objectives and its vision towards helping communities.”

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Those taking part are Latifa and Dubai Hospitals of the DHA, Baraha Hospital of the Ministry of Health and Prevention and eight private hospitals; American Hospital, Al Zahraa, Saudi German, Med Clinic, Dr Suleiman Al Habib Hospital, Canadian, Prime and NMC.

NMC hospital said it delivered a total of seven children on UAE National Day, out of which three were Emirati.

“We have been working with the DHA for weeks to arrange this event would go with the National Day celebrations, and support the government trend in the Year of Giving towards children’s health and safety,” said Yasser Abbas, Commercial Manager, Johnson & Johnson UAE.

“The initiative expresses the impact these joint endeavors may bring about in our society. We have designed the shape of the seat and branded it the initiative logo, and also produced an awareness booklet.

“This explains to mothers and parents how to install the child seat in the vehicle, and offers information about the baby growth in the prime-months post birth.”

In the UK, a new law came into force in 2017 stating children must use car safety seats until they are either 12 years old, or 135cm tall. Only EU approved seats are permitted in the UK, with children weighing less than 22kg allowed to use backless booster seats.

Children over the age of 12 or taller than 135cm must wear a seat belt, and tots should be in baby carrier, as opposed to a child seat, until they weigh at least 9kg.

Most UK hospitals insist on parents having a correctly fitted baby seat before allowing infants to leave a maternity unit.

Figures from Road Safety UAE show traffic accidents are the number one killers of children in the UAE, with more than 62 per cent of infant mortality caused by some form of road accident, with few children restrained in the correctly fitted car safety seat.

Experts from the campaign group said of those motorists with children needing safety seats or booster conditions, a third did not use them whilst driving.

Guidance on infants aged from birth up to 18 months or so is for them to travel in Group 0 or Group 0+ safety seats, depending on the size and weight of the child.

“We firmly believe, that the holistic seat belt use is the lowest hanging fruit in order to achieve the safety targets of the 'UAE Vision 2021', which aims at reducing the fatalities to 3.0/100,000 inhabitants by 2021,” said Thomas Edelmann from Road Safety UAE.