x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Safety drive for UAE caregivers after child tragedies

A safety campaign has been launched after the tragic deaths of two children who fell from windows at their homes over the weekend.

Following the deaths of two children from high-rise apartments, the government launched a safety campaign 'Train the trainers', which educates caregivers about preventing child injuries. Ravindranath K / The National
Following the deaths of two children from high-rise apartments, the government launched a safety campaign 'Train the trainers', which educates caregivers about preventing child injuries. Ravindranath K / The National

ABU DHABI // A government safety campaign called "Train the trainers" will educate parents and caregivers about preventing and treating child injuries.

The Ministry of Interior initiative has been announced following the deaths of two children who fell from windows in high-rise apartments at the weekend.

The campaign will involve training people who can run workshops on child-safety hazards including falls from windows, traffic accidents and drowning.

"The programme will be accrediting trainers from the whole of the UAE to conduct training programmes for the public, focusing on mothers, nannies - people who work with children directly," said Lt Col Faisal Al Shamari, director of the ministry's Child Protection Centre.

"Unfortunately, most [caregivers] are not fully aware of how they prevent such injuries from happening, and then it's too late," he said.

On Friday in Sharjah, a 16-month-old boy died after climbing on to a dining table and falling through a fifth-floor window. Police in Abu Dhabi reported on Friday that a five-year-old boy had died after falling from a third-floor window in Khalidiyah. The father had forgotten to lock a window behind his son's bunk bed, police said.

More than 70 per cent of child injuries in Abu Dhabi last year happened at home, according to a report from the Health Authority. About a quarter of child deaths happened at home and more than half of the children killed were Emiratis.

Parents should closely supervise children at all times and install barriers that keep windows from opening more than 10 centimetres, ministry officials said. Parents should also educate their children about the danger of windows and balconies, keep furniture away from windows and avoid over-reliance on maids or nannies, the officials said.

Abu Dhabi and Sharjah have already instituted regulations that incorporate child window safety into building permit approvals. The ministry is studying the idea of applying such a procedure in all emirates.

A federal draft law on child protection, called Wadeema's Law, also contains a provision on child window safety.

The current draft stipulates that the "concerned authorities" should coordinate to determine building standards, specifications, codes and safety requirements to protect children from falling from windows, balconies, stairs and rooftops. The draft has been approved by the federal Cabinet and is awaiting debate by the Federal National Council.

vnereim@thenational.ae