x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Improve safety at parks, Sharjah parents plead

Sharjah parents seek tighter security regulations for rides at local parks after a toddler was hurt at a fairground.

SHARJAH // Parents in Sharjah are asking the municipality for more protection for children at parks.

The calls come after an Emirati toddler was struck on the head by a fairground ride at Al Majjaz waterfront last week.

Khalifa Obeid Saeed Al Zayoudi, 2, slipped away from his parents and into a dangerous area near the attraction. He was admitted to Al Qassimi Hospital's intensive care unit, where he remains in a coma.

One concerned parent, Mohammed Omar, said the current cool weather offers the opportunity for children to play in parks, but recent accidents have worried families.

"No one would wish to see the safety of his children compromised and that is why it is important for authorities to regulate the rides companies offer in parks," he said.

Another parent, Mohammed Hijaz, said authorities had to ensure that a ride supervisor regulated the entry and exit of children, and that the capacity of the rides was not exceeded. He also wants inspectors to regularly visit fairgrounds to make sure safety procedures are in place.

"We have seen instances when a ride carried more children than the authorised numbers," he said.

Hanan Jassim, director of the events and parks section at the municipality, said the authorities had put in place a number of strict safety rules at all Sharjah parks, for fixed and mobile rides.

Those that spin in the air or involve climbing are supposed to be fenced, not rise more than two metres into the air and have a supervisor on-site at all times.

Rides also have to be fitted with rubber materials and a first-aid kit should always be available.

"There are always reports of simple falls but with safety features like a child falling on a rubber material or in sand the injuries are often minimised," Ms Jassim said.

She attributed most injuries to inattention on the part of parents, urging them to be aware of where children were playing.

She also said parents should ensure that children only are allowed on rides suitable for their age and abilities.

ykakande@thenational.ae