Road accidents remain a leading cause of death for Abu Dhabi’s children
New statistics released by the Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (HAAD) today finds that 64.6% of all childhood injury deaths in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, between 2007 and 2009, were due to road traffic injuries. Out of a total of 181 child injury deaths; 117 were due to road traffic injuries.
These numbers replicate a similar study undertaken by the UAE University between 2000 and 2006, which discovered that 63% of fatal injuries among children in the UAE were traffic related.
The data confirms that more effort is required to raise awareness and increase education about the need to for parents to secure their children with a seat belt or to strap their child into an appropriate child seat on every vehicle journey. This is the reason why Chevrolet launched its Child Seats Save Lives initiative, which is donating 1,500 child seats across the UAE and educating nurses and parents about the importance of using child seats.
A Traffic Injury Prevention study published in 2008, also conducted by UAE University, found that only 2% of parents restrained their children with a seat belt or an appropriate child seat. Alarmingly, the study found that 23% of children sat in the front seat, which is illegal for children below the age of 10 – and only 4% of these children were restrained by a seat belt.
"We have to make our road journeys safer for our children and using age appropriate child seats is the first step," said Dr. Jens Thomsen, Section Head Occupational and Environmental Health and Head of the HAAD Road Safety Program at the HAAD. "The number of childhood deaths attributable to road traffic injuries would decrease significantly if parents strapped their children into an appropriate child seat on every journey. Research shows that this can reduce infant fatal injuries by up to 71%. It is also known that 83% of belted and restrained children remain uninjured in accidents."
Dr. Thomsen commended awareness campaigns such as the current Chevrolet - Child Seats Save Lives initiative that is educating nurses and parents about the importance of using child seats and is also donating 1,500 child seats across the UAE.
Chevrolet partnered with the leading child injury prevention organisation Safe Kids Worldwide to send experts from the US to train maternity nurses in Al Rahba Hospital in October. The training sessions were organised to equip maternity nurses with the knowledge to educate new parents on the vital role child car seats play in preventing fatal injuries in the event of a road accident.
Later this month, Chevrolet will be donating 500 premium Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix child seats to Al Rahba Hospital to distribute to parents of new born babies. The child seat is designed for infants weighing up to 13 kg (from birth to 9 months). It is highly recommended that older infants use car seats that are designed to meet their size and weight.
General Motors Middle East Operations' President, John Stadwick, said, "Road traffic injuries are among the leading causes of injury and death in the UAE and at Chevrolet we are genuinely concerned about the high incidence of infant mortality on our roads. Child car seats are recognised as the most effective method of reducing infant mortality in the event of a traffic crash and by partnering with the Health Authority - Abu Dhabi, Al Rahba Hospital and Safe Kids Worldwide we are hoping to educate parents to increase the use of child seats."
Department of Health - Abu Dhabi
Department of Health -Abu Dhabi is the regulative body of the Healthcare Sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and ensures excellence in Healthcare for the community by monitoring the health status of the population.
DoH defines the strategy for the health system, monitors and analyses the health status of the population and performance of the system.
In addition DoH shapes the regulatory framework for the health system, inspects against regulations, enforce standards, and encourages adoption of world – class best practices and performance targets by all healthcare service providers in the Emirate.
DoH also drives programs to increase awareness and adoption of healthy living standards among the residents of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in addition to regulating scope of services, premiums and reimbursement rates of the health system in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
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