x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Maids get blamed for accidents

Parents who rely on housemaids have been cited as a big factor in the rise in accidents among Arab children.

ABU DHABI // Parents who rely on housemaids to care for their children have been cited as a big factor in the rise in accidents among Arab children in the capital. According to a study by Capt Beshir al Belbisis, of Abu Dhabi Police, 21 children died in accidents in the capital last year. A further 1,641 children under the age of 16 were injured, with 35 per cent involving Arab children.

Capt Belbisis said the growing dependence of Emirati and Arab families on recruiting housemaids for child care, as well as negligence, were strong factors. "Children under five were the most vulnerable age group whether inside or outside the house, making 52 per cent of the total accidents," he said. Children from the UAE were involved in 574, or 34 per cent, of the accidents. Twelve per cent involved Asian children while 10 per cent involved children from European or Western families.

The vast majority of those injured in accidents - 1,261 - were boys. The report attributes the disparity to the different way the genders are raised in the Arab world, with girls protected and monitored indoors and outdoors and boys allowed greater freedom to roam. Incidents in which children were hurt or died increased by nearly 2,000 per cent since 2001, from only 81 to 1,662 last year. @Email:rhughes@thenational.ae

* With reporting by WAM