Negligence blamed for high-rise mishaps

Family negligence and lack of safety in buildings are among key reasons for repeated accidents involving children falling down from their apartments in Sharjah, according to police and civil defence.

Over the past two months, five children have died after falling off balconies and windows in their flats in high-rise buildings in the emirate, they said.

Besides those two factors, families make it unsafe for their children by placing furniture and other items near windows and on balconies, allowing the kids to climb up to the edge and endangering their lives.

"The main reason is family negligence. Families do not do enough to protect their children and their negligence has been the reason for most fall accidents in the emirate,” Sharjah police commander Brigadier Saif Al Shamsi said, quoted by the Dubai-based Arabic language daily Emarat Alyoum.

“Families should always keep an eye on their children..they should also not stack furniture and other things near windows and on balconies.”

He said another main factor is lack of safety at some buildings and called on landlords to make amendments to boost safety by increasing the height of windows and balconies to at least 120 cm and narrowing window openings to 10 cm.

Civil defence chief Lt Colonel Sami Al Naqbi agreed that some buildings are still not compatible with safety standards.

“We call on landlords to ensure their buildings meet safety standards in the emirate…no permits for new buildings will be granted unless they meet those standards…as for existing buildings, we have asked owners to modify their structures to ensure safety.”