While majority of the parents are extremely particular about strapping their child in a baby/toddler car seat in their car, the theory is often ignored while hiring a cab.
With the figures in May this year establishing that 63 per cent (recorded by the Dubai Health Authority) of deaths among children, aged 14 and below, in the UAE are caused by traffic accidents, it is important that even the child passengers in cabs are well protected.
The Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC) has dedicated 50 taxis with child seats.
“Fifty child seats have been issued by DTC, along with Baby Shop. With special emphasis extended at the Dubai airport for ‘Ladies Taxi’ and ‘Family Taxi’ services,” explains Mansoor R Al Falasi, Acting CEO of Dubai Taxi Corporation.
“Customers can order a taxi fitted with a child seat when booking a cab through the Road Transport Authority (RTA) number 04-2080808.”
This step, the official claims is aimed at spreading awareness about a child’s safety even when using the public transport. “Using child seats in taxis ensures the safety of the children as well as the peace of mind of their family members.”
The DTC, in association with Bubblebum, has also started a trial for an additional 24 child seats. “The drivers were also sent for an in-depth training before the trial went ‘live’”, he adds.
Many parents, however, weren’t aware about this option. “I didn’t know that I could book a cab with a car seat. This is, by far, one of the best initiatives by the Dubai taxi,” says Natasha D’Souza, a mother of a toddler.
“Until now, I have been placing my child on my lap while travelling in a taxi. This way, I can sit comfortably and know that my child is seated securely,” adds Sheetal.
“Judging by the way some of these cabbies drive, this is an important step in ensuring the safety of all its passengers, whether big or small,” stresses Nilesh Kumar.
The service is available with a lady driver for a charge. “The metre starts at Dh25,” confirms a call-centre agent.
Although the law surrounding the use of child seats in the UAE isn’t well-detailed, there is a law that states that children aged 10 and below cannot sit in the front seat and those sitting in the back seats must wear a seat belt at all times.
Last year, the Higher Committee for Child Protection at the Ministry of Interior had stressed on the need to install special car seats for children, depending on their age and weight, in vehicles.