A plea to mothers: keep your children safeOctober 12, 2017
When you decide to bring a child into the world, as parents we silently make a vow, a promise to do everything in our power to protect, feed, shelter and educate them. To do our best for these little ones who need us, rely on us and trust us with all their heart.
And while there isn’t an exam to take before the hospital decides we are fit to be parents and take that tiny baby home (though that isn’t a bad idea…), and we don’t sign a legal document agreeing to certain terms, this unsaid intention stays with us. It turns into instinct.
It’s the part of you that runs across the playground at Usain Bolt speed when they fall off the monkey bars, it’s the soothing touch of your hand on their back to comfort them when they cry, it’s the deep truth that you would do anything for them. Anything.
So why are so many UAE parents failing to keep their children safe when they’re in the car?
Even in spite of a recent law change that demands that seat belts must be worn by all passengers in a moving vehicle, and that children under four must be in a car seat. Now any driver carrying unrestrained passengers faces fines of AED400 and four black points.
On UAE roads not a day goes by when I don’t see a child on the passenger’s lap, or bouncing around unrestrained in the back, or with their head out of the window/sunroof. It’s commonplace. It’s terrifying. Frankly, it’s incomprehensible.
More ‘Baby on dashboard’ than ‘Baby on board’.
As parents we’re the boss of our children. Parenting doesn’t mean being liked all the time. It means doing the best for them, to make sure they’re well-adjusted, and well-fed, and well-mannered. But, above all, safe.
So your kid doesn’t like the car seat? Tough. You REALLY won’t like what happens if they’re not buckled up, there’s an accident and they go through the windscreen. Because that’s what we’re talking about here: not dying on roads that are among the most dangerous in the world.
To clarify, the people I’m talking about are driving decent cars, and could certainly afford a car seat – you can find models in Babyshop priced from AED149. With the law coming into effect, I visited Babyshop and saw that they have stocked the complete range of car seats, from the basic models to the ones with advanced features to ensure that all UAE residents are able to purchase as per their choice, their needs and their budget.
So expense and availability are not the issue. It’s educational. It’s ignorance and arrogance. It’s being on the wrong side of history.
It’s the ‘It won’t happen to me’ attitude. That they think their love for their children is enough to protect them. That, and I’ve heard parents say this, the safest place for a child in a car is in their mother’s arms, but 63% of all deaths of those aged under 14 in the UAE are a result of car related incidents. And the vast majority of these parents are wearing seat belts themselves.
As well as the dangers facing unrestrained children, should the vehicle they’re travelling in be in an accident, other drivers’ safety is compromised; it’s hard to concentrate on the road with a child jumping around in the back, or standing between the seats, or sitting in the front. It’s distracting. And that’s when accidents happen, affecting innocent people.
I try my hardest not to be a judgmental mum, but this is something that I can’t help but comment on, because it both breaks my heart and frustrates me to the point where I’ll wind down my window at traffic lights and speak to someone with a baby on their lap in the next car.
For me, this isn’t about the law, or being fined, or getting black points (though I’m grateful that it’s now illegal). It’s about our duties as mothers and fathers, to do everything we can to keep our children safe, to do our best.
This is a plea. That if you ARE reading this and you don’t have you little ones in a car seat when you drive, that you reconsider. That you take control, and be the boss, and act out of love. And while your kids might kick, and scream, and refuse, that you see it through. Because that’s what being a parent means – getting it done, for the good of your kids.
To see the complete range of car seats, please visit your nearest Babyshop store or shop from the comfort of your home at www.babyshopstores.com.