x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Corniche Hospital to give out free car seats

From June, every newborn will leave the country's largest maternity hospital secured in a free child safety seat.

Abu Dhabi // From June, every newborn will leave the country's largest maternity hospital secured in a free child safety seat. Corniche Hospital, which delivers 10,000 babies a year, will be the first public hospital in the emirate to enact the car-seat discharge policy. The plan is to distribute about 7,200 child seats at no charge. "It's not just a campaign but a permanent discharge policy," said Amira Wali, the director of public health and communications at the hospital.

"Our goal is to continue distributing car seats free of charge, along with registration and counselling, until there's legislation passed where all children have to be in child restraints in the car." Securing a child in a car seat in the rear of a vehicle can prevent 71 per cent of infant fatalities and 54 per cent of toddler fatalities in accidents, according to the hospital. A recent traffic survey by the UAE University found that most children travel without wearing any safety restraints in the car.

The health insurance provider Daman is donating the Maxi-Cosi brand seats, which retail for Dh865 (US$235) each. Dr Michael Bitzer, Daman's chief executive, said supporting the hospital would ensure all newborns are safe as they go home. Maxi-Cosi's Middle East chief executive, Ben Boenz, said yesterday: "Sometimes awareness is not enough. If the products are handed out for free, there's no excuse not to use it."

Last month, the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi announced a drive to donate 4,500 baby car seats to hospitals. @Email:mkwong@thenational.ae