Back to school – check your car

Back to school – check your car!

As a driver, one of the most crucial responsibilities you have is the safety of any child passengers in your car. Road Safety UAE statistics show that traffic accidents account for around 62% of infant deaths in the United Arab Emirates. Only a shocking 2% of those victims were properly restrained in child-safe seats. While there are many different types of child safety seats available in the UAE, it seems that many parents are unaware of the regulations surrounding the security of child passengers in cars. To help you ensure your child’s safety, and stay within the confines of the law, here’s our guide to keeping your smaller passengers as safe as possible on the school run this term.

Categories of Safety Seat

Knowing which category of safety seat applies to your child can seem a bit daunting. Here’s a quick look at what you need to know.

  • Age 0 – 18 months, with a weight of up to 10 kg, your child requires a 0 Group Safety Seat
  • Age 0 – 18 months, but with a weight of up to 13 kg, your child requires a 0+ Group Safety Seat
  • Age 9 months – 4years, with a weight of between 9 kg and 18 kg, your child requires a Group 1 Safety Seat
  • Age 3 years – 6 years, weighing between 15 kg and 25 kg, your child requires a Group 2 Safety Seat
  • Age 6 years to 12 years, weighing between 22 kg – 36 kg, your child requires a Group 3 Safety Seat
  • Groups 1, 2, and 3 are front-facing safety seats. Since 2019, almost 5,000 motorists have been fined up to 400 AED for allowing children to sit in the front passenger seat without the appropriate restraints. According to UAE traffic regulations, children below the age of 10 years old, or who are under 145cm in height, are not permitted to sit in the front seat of vehicles.

    Car Seat Safety

    As of 1st July 2017, all child safety seats must pass rigorous crash-simulation testing and carry proper labelling denoting the category of the seat and the appropriate age and weight of any passengers to be carried. A reputable auto repair shop will be able to provide you with all the information you need to make the right choice.

    Seat Belts

    Figures released by RoadTrafficUAE revealed that for drivers and passengers in the front seats, wearing a seatbelt reduced the risk of death and serious injury by between 40% and 65%. The same figures also revealed that, for children, this figure increased by up to 80%.

    General safety checks

    Everyday safety checks should be carried out as a matter of course, but if you’re carrying your most precious cargo to school every day then you really need to make sure those checks are thoroughly conducted every time. Check:

    Tyre pressures – to prevent the risk of a blowout or puncture

    Child-proof locks – if your car doesn’t have these fitted then it’s worth talking to a professional garage to see if they can be installed to stop children accidentally opening the doors when the vehicle is moving.

    Head restraints – if older children are travelling as passengers then make sure the head restraints are adjusted to prevent whiplash injuries in the event of a collision.

    Items on the parcel shelf – even a minor collision can send objects flying through the vehicle. Make sure your kids know not to put their bags on the back parcel shelf, and that it’s clear of any potential projectiles that could cause serious head injuries.

    Use the Professionals

    If you’re in any way unsure as to the correct way to install your safety seat, which one is best for your children, of if your vehicle is roadworthy and safe, the best thing to do is to take it to a reputable auto shop. There, fully trained staff will be able to give you the best advice on how to keep any younger passengers as safe as possible.

    At Al-Futtaim FASTFIT, we’ve been offering our services to motorists since 1955. In that time, we’ve gathered the experience and expertise to deliver appropriate and cost-effective solutions, quickly, efficiently, and effectively. Whether you need advice on a child safety seat, auto repair, or car repair of any sort, pop into your local centre today.