Starting this week, thousands of babies born at the Women’s Hospital in Qatar will receive a new carseat before heading home, the Supreme Council of Health has announced.
The gift, which will be given to the first 7,000 babies born from the first day of Ramadan, is part of an initiative by the government and Maersk Oil to improve mortality and injury rates on Qatar’s roads through the “One Second” campaign.
Though Qatar’s National Health Strategy 2011-2016 calls for providing mothers of newborns with car seats at the time of their discharge from the hospital, it is not illegal here for small children to ride in a vehicle unrestrained or on their mothers’ laps, a common sight on Doha roads.
Previously, “socio-economic” issues have been cited as one reason why car seats are not widely used in Qatar.
Many households, for example, contain multiple children, leading some parents to conclude that it is impractical to strap all of them into bulky car seats. But officials said they hope that, when given a car seat, parents will utilize it.
Brigadier Mohammed Saad Al Kharji, director of Traffic Department, said, as quoted by the Peninsula:
“We hope this campaign would improve safety on roads, avoid accidents and decrease mortality rate…Not only children but also adults should use seatbelts, even at the back seat. Accidents cost the government lots of money.”
Last year, an HMC official said that more than half – some 54 percent – of deaths among children who are up to four years old in Qatar are caused by traffic accidents.
“In almost all the cases, the victims are those traveling on the front seat, without wearing a seat belt,” said Rafael Consunji, a consultant at HMC’s Trauma Department.
Do you think this new initiative will help improve safety on Qatar’s roads? Thoughts?
Credit: Photo by Chris Wiegand