The crackdown by the Dubai Police Traffic Department and the initiative launched by the UAE Ministry of Interior earlier this week over mandatory child seats in cars has surprisingly drawn mixed reactions from parents.
While most parents are hailing the safety measures that are being enforced, others feel the laws are being too harsh.
Says Sarita K, a mother of two: “While the idea is a noble one to ensure that our child is safe in the car, with two young kids, the costing of car seats, followed by booster seats will cost me an average Dh1,000 if not more. And this could increase with wear and tear and what not.
“I am stressing that the laws are being implemented for the safety of our loved ones, but surely as parents we are going to ensure that we are careful too. My younger son who is three-years-old is still never allowed to sit un-chaperoned in the backseat.
“And my older one, whose six years, is always buckled in.”
The law states that children under nine months, or those weighing under 10kg, must be seated in child seats facing the rear of the car.
Those who are between nine months and four years and weigh between 10kg and 18kg should be seated in car seats facing forward.
Seat boosters should be used for kids between four and six years, weighing 15kg to 25kg, while cushions for support are to be used for children aged six to 11 years, who weigh 22kg to 36kg.
“Look, I have nothing against the implementation of the law, however, I think it is a bit too rigid and should have some flexibility to it,” said Moosa M. “I agree that there should be hefty fines implemented on those parents who drive with children in their laps, but surely if the child is buckled in, in the backseat with his parent or a supervising adult, this should be acceptable.”
Another parent, Ghalib K, agreed with this suggestions, adding: “We grew up without car seats and in many countries around the world, such laws are not being implemented either.
“If there should be a crackdown, then it should be on errant drivers who break traffic laws and place other people at risk.”
Parents who have opposed views on this are outraged that some people are against laws that ensure a child’s safety in moving vehicles.
Mary Joseph, a mother of three says: “I find it appalling that most taxi companies in the UAE don’t offer the service of child car seats if you call and book a cab. I know the Roads and Transports Authority have implemented them recently at airports now and in some fleets, however, parents who flag their child’s safety should be appalled by their behaviour.”
John Sullivan, father of one, agrees with Joseph, saying: “Parents who are fretting over Dh1,000 spent on a car seat should realise they are putting a price on their child’s life. That is the bitter truth.”
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