x

Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

New UAE car seat rules 'to stop substandard models flooding the market'

Heavy fines, the closure of shops and even jail terms are the punishments importers and retailers will face if they do not comply with the regulations.

Omar Al Darabkeh and his two year old daughter Issabella shop for a car seat at The Baby Shop in Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai. Antonie Robertson / The National
Omar Al Darabkeh and his two year old daughter Issabella shop for a car seat at The Baby Shop in Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai. Antonie Robertson / The National

New regulations governing the type of car seats that retailers can sell are designed to stop substandard models flooding the market, the industry's regulator has said.

A change in the law that made the devices mandatory from July 1 led to a rush by parents to ensure they have a car seat for children under the age of four.

It has also led to strict new rules announced last week that set out exactly what stores can sell.

Seats must pass crash tests and be clearly labelled by age group.

“We issued the regulations on standards because we know that once it is mandatory to use child car seats then a lot of traders will use different types of seats," said Abdulla Al Maeeni, director general of the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma).

_________________

Read more:

UAE's new laws regulating child car seats will save lives, say doctors

Demand for child car seats in huge increase since law change, study finds

Parents face child car seat minefield as they rush to abide by new law

_________________

"Some of them want to gain a profit and there might be leakages in the market, with cheap seats that do not comply with standards. We want to safeguard our market from these substandard seats."

Heavy fines, the closure of shops and even jail terms are the punishments importers and retailers will face if they do not comply with the regulations.

Sellers have until the end of this year to comply with new rules, which aim to that aim to plug the import and enforce the withdrawal of substandard children’s car seats.

“The main purpose is to keep our children safe,” said Mr Al Maeeni.

“The latest amended traffic regulations mandate the use of car seats for children and if we don’t have the proper seats it will be no use, there will be no result.

The July 1 traffic law contained a number of significant changes to road rules, including that every occupant of a vehicle must be buckled up at all times. Until then, seatbelt use was only mandatory for those in the front.

“We are giving time to distributors and seat providers to register with us on our website or ask for information on our twitter account @esmagov. Distributors, companies, producers of different seats need to come to Esma to register their products,” Mr Al Maeeni said.

“If by the end of the year, we find they are not complying or not withdrawing seats from the market, we will start with the fines from Dh30,000 for non-compliance and for not registering. Sometimes the shop might be closed and legal action may be taken. It will start with the fine and then it depends on the court if there is jail for three months or more.”

Officials will work with quality control, monitoring authorities and economy departments in different emirates to spread awareness.

Parents who have already purchased car seats will be alerted via recall announcements of unsafe seats.

“Surveillance is ongoing and we are looking at the market so if we find seats that are not compliant and should not be used we will issue a recall announcement. We will also ask traders to contact the consumer if they have their information,” he said.

The seats must pass crash tests in laboratories overseas using child dummies and must include clear labels that specify the weight and age of the child it can be used for.

Instructions on how to position the seat - whether front or rear facing - and details on safe installation must also be included.

“There are different kinds of crash tests overseas that check the impact of a crash from the side, front and back and then measure the seat to find out how it reacts to the accident. The test checks if the seat and belt is still strong after the crash and the impact on artificial or dummy babies to find out if the seat is suitable,” Mr Al Maeeni said.

“We have links with international laboratories in different countries to make it easier for the industry and cost and time effective. They will be directed to accredited international laboratories approved by us in their country of production. Distributors or sellers will not be allowed to sell any product without a certificate. Our aim is that our consumers in the UAE should be able to go confidently and buy a good, safe product from the market. Clear labelling and user instructions is important because wrong installation of the correct seat will not fit the purpose.”