By PMA RASHEED
18 March 2011, The Gulf Today
About 62 per cent of infant mortality in the UAE is a result of car traffic accidents, revealed a senior official at Dubai Health Authority (DHA) on Thursday.
Dr Ali Al Marzooqui, director of Public Health and Safety Department of the Health Policy and Strategy Sector at the DHA said that the statistic is not surprising, when one notes that only 2 per cent of infants are actually restrained in a proper car safety seat.
“It is a well-documented fact that traffic injuries and accidents are the UAE’s number one infant killer as more than 62 per cent of baby mortality cases are related to car accidents,” he added.
Dr Al Marzooqui was speaking as part of the DHA’s campaign aimed at highlighting the importance of using a car seat for babies and infants in Dubai.
“Given the statistics, raising awareness and enforcing a law to ensure that babies and infants only travel by car when restrained in a car seat is the obvious way forward. It is everybody’s responsibility to keep our babies safe,” he elaborated.
“The campaign will run from March 17 to 19 at the Mall of the Emirates and a booth will be set up to educate the public about how to use an infant car seat and its importance to protect babies and infants from accidents and fatalities,” a DHA spokesperson said.
“The campaign coincides with the 27th GCC Traffic Week which runs from March 13 to 19. The programme under the slogan ‘Working together to reduce traffic injuries’ will reach out to a large section of society and educate them about health and safety issues,” he added.
Dr Ziad Al Najjar, senior public health promotion specialist, Public Health and Safety Department, Health Policy and Strategy Sector at the DHA, said, “Scientific research supported by independent testing, shows that these seats can reduce the risk of fatal injuries by 71 per cent. It is important for families to understand the importance of using a safety seat for babies and infants.”
Ben Boenk, director of Dutchkid FZCO that joins the DHA in the campaign, said that the stand at the Mall of Emirates will be located at the Carrefour Entrance on the first floor and team members from Dutch Kid and Health Bay Polyclinic will be present to demonstrate how to use infant car seats.
“The public will be educated about the functionalities and benefits of using these seats as well as distribute brochures and discount vouchers,” he added.