Child car-safety seat usage in detail

Child car-safety seat usage in detail

It is a given that most people do not use child-safety seats while driving with their kids in the GCC. It has mostly to do with the cultural mindset that will be hard to overcome in the short term, although the cost of child seats can also be a deterrent. When I was a kid growing up in Dubai, I rode in the back seat of my budget-minded father’s craptastic 1988 Honda Civic, with a broken rear-door latch that used to fling the door open on occasion at highway speeds. In the front seat, my mother refused to belt up until it became law. The funny part is, I used to buckle up in the back seat anyway, even if with 1980s lap belts, because it seemed ‘fun.’ And let’s not talk about my vacations in Bangladesh, of the day-long journeys my mother made me endure in my uncle’s rusting 1980 Toyota Starlet, sharing the front passenger seat with another kid, sometimes on an adult’s lap, all with no seat-belts. People in Asia and the Middle East have hardly changed since those days. Now there are these fancy child-safety seats to worry about. Did you know that there are four types of safety seats for various ages? And that it might become law soon to use them?

The Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD) as well as the Road and Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA) have launched a road safety initiative in a bid to raise awareness of the importance of, among other issues, child-safety seats. We learned some interesting facts at the press conference.

According to a study conducted by the UAE University in 2008, 98% of children travelling in a car were not restrained and 23% of children travelled in the front seat, which is actually illegal in the UAE for children below the age of 10. In the same study, on average only 29% of drivers wore seat belts, probably because there are many morons who still think it is “uncool” to wear one.

According to HAAD, 454 people, including 44 children, died of road traffic injuries in Abu Dhabi in 2009. Abu Dhabi apparently has one of the world’s highest rates of road death, at an incidence of 20.2 deaths per 100,000 population in 2009. The RTA says Dubai’s rate lingers at around 14 deaths per 100,000, probably due to stricter traffic enforcement.

According to a survey of specifically BMW customers, over 70% of drivers travel with their children or their families in the GCC. However, 37% admitted that they did not use seat-belts all the time in the front, while 86% do not use them all the time in the back seat. As anyone will tell you, buckling up in the back seat is the quickest way to taunts and insults from retarded friends, but I do it sometimes anyway when I don’t trust the overconfident driver, especially at media driving events.

The BMW survey also reveals that 37% confessed their children didn’t use seat-belts at all, let alone safety seats. In fact, most admitted to holding their children in their arms as a passenger, which is always a nice display of the “natural selection” theory on local roads.

The variations of child-safety seats available are designed to protect kids’ soft bones and small bodies at different ages. Here are the different options:

Rear-facing Infant Car Seat – Designed for infants under the age of 1 year, they provide the best protection until the infant is both one year of age and weighs at least 13 kg.

Child Safety Seat – Targeting toddlers aged 1-4 years, they secure your child and spread the crash forces over a wide area. This seat should last until either the child’s weight exceeds 18 kg or it grows too tall for the seat.

Booster Seat – Made for small children aged 4-6 years, it works by raising the child to the correct height for the car’s adult seat-belt to work properly. It has a seat back that can provide additional protection in the event of a side impact. The booster seat should be used until the child is approximately 145 cm tall.

Booster Cushion – The final option before your child transitions to the regular three-point seat-belt, and is designed for children aged 6-11 years that weigh from 22 to 36 kg. Some manufacturers are now producing backs that cover the full 15 to 36 kg range.

Some parents give excuses that their kids forcefully refuse to belt up. Well, stop being such a phussy and smack them upside the head when no one’s watching. They’ll probably dump you in a nursing home when you’re old anyway.

There is talk that child-safety seats will become law in the UAE soon. If you have kids, this should be a safe starting guide when you go shopping for seats.

What do you think?



  1. Author

    The ‘Stay Alert. Stay Alive.’ Awareness Days will be held on 2nd April 2010 at the Abu Dhabi Corniche, and 9th April at the Dubai Creekside Park, in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Municipality and Dubai Municipality, as well as BMW showrooms. BMW Middle East will be giving away 4,000 child safety booster cushions at these two events, with 6,000 more slated for other GCC countries.

  2. Nice information…!!!

  3. Great info Mash, Half the people who bought 4×4’s recently in Drive Arabia, took decision based on number of seats, space for pram & grocery and finally their priority. None had much of knowledge about child car seats, I bought two of them (One for Pathy and another for Focus) randomly, without knowing much of the above mentioned information. I was always wondering about the usage of Booster seat & Booster Cushion, now am quite clear (I thought them to be some type of pram). Thanks again. I think Intruder and Sting will also be quite happy with this article.

  4. good one mash! though we need more than this… it HAS to become a law. Few weeks back on the fly-over to JLT i spoted a fancy brand new lexus LS460 and i couldn’t help but admire it… then i got shocked: a 5-8 YO was waving at me through the fully openned window, and guess what? THE KID WAS STANDING IN FRONT!! STANDING!!! not sitting!! needless to emphasize that he wasn’t fastened.

  5. but on uae roads sitting in the front or rear does not make any differebnce ,what if a truck rams into the back of ur car

  6. I am glad, these rules are going to be enforced on moronic idiots. I cant believe some parents, Dad and Mom are nicely tucked behind the seat belt and their kids jumping around in the back seat without any belts. Ridiculous !!

    And then you get some cool parents who let their kids pop their head outta the sun roof.

    Although, I too never wore a seat belt when I was a kid, but I sure got smacked at the back of my head everytime I jumped around.

    My son Al hamdulillah is on a child seat ever since he was born, even now that he is 4 and half years old.

    My Indo Pak buddys try to make fun of me for puting my grown child on the car seat, but when I open my mouth about safety for their kids, they are speechless !!

  7. Oh by the way I got 2 seats, one for each vehicle. and I bought the 3rd one for my sons private transport guy for his school. I made the driver swear that he buckles up my boy in his shitty corona. My son after couple months is pissed at me, Y I always buckle him up, coz the driver never does it. Driver was fired the next morning , full paid that is.

  8. Hey Mash. Damn good Info and appreciate you putting up the different types of child seats available in the market. I vote for putting this post as topic of the year to promote safety awareness.

    “….As anyone will tell you, buckling up in the back seat is the quickest way to taunts and insults from retarded friends, but I do it sometimes anyway when I don’t trust the overconfident driver….” 😀 .. Yeah, I’ve had to sometimes slam the accelerator pedal to get my friends to buckle up, it works if simple requests dont work. 😉

  9. You can get combination seats that fulfil the requirement of both the child forward facing seat and the booster seat.

    NEVER let you child ride in the front on mommy’s lap – baby will substitute for the airbag in the event of a collision.

  10. can u tell when the event wl be in Jeddah.

  11. Author

    ^ Not announced yet.

  12. Thank you Mashfique for this information.
    If you are visiting the UAE please be informed that we rent out the full range of child safety seats to visitors. We are at .

  13. Thank you for a fantastic piece of writing. I still don’t get why people don’t buckle up. Once my cousin was visiting from Bahrain, she refused to put on her seat belt. I explained to her that I am the driver and it is my duty to ensure everyone who rides with me is safe. She still refused and said her reactions will save her from any impending crash. To cut a long story short, I half pressed the breaks and she briskly smashed her face on the dashboard. I just proved to her that her reactions will fail when an accident happens. Two seconds later she had her seat belt fully fastened. 😀

  14. Author

    ^ Haha! Awesome, dude.

  15. I never start or move the car unless the passenger in the front seat has buckled up..even if i am just taking the car out of a parking.
    it irritates somes, but i dont care as i am very very particular about it. for some people who dont care much about safety, i just tell them that if the cops fine me for you not wearing a seatbelt i am going to ask them to pay for it. this way atleast the money factor plays an important part in them buckling up 🙂

  16. Author

    ^Also, if you have an accident and your moron passenger gets hurt, the popo throws you in jail until the moron clears you.


  18. Opps!! a little late for comment, but i want to share my experience here.. i am working in casualty in a hospital here, i always face patients cause by RTA, it”s very alarming here that even there is a law about using safety belt they always ignoring it as you told they think is uncool wearing it.and the number of cases was increasing, and most of the person involve was in their younger years. traffic rules are here but not strictly implemented. they are more concern in giving parking ticket, than those driving not wearing belt or driving like Michael Shumacher.

    Young driver are more aggressive in their driving, they never care those older driver following traffic. sometimes you will see in the road two car chasing,a boy chasing the girl’s car to get her attention. they dont care even they are causing traffic.

    One time me and my friend was joking about the horn of car, i told to my friend ” is the modern car today have automatic horn” my friend told “why?”. I told “see we are in the traffic light. just wait it to turn green..”. Then it become green. “See what did you here on our back”.. BEEPPPP!! BEEPP!!! see i think it is included in the new package when you buy a new car..” HA!HA!HA!

  19. JOKE ONLY:
    question and answer:
    how do you know who is driving that car?
    who is driving that old Mercedes? who? egyptian. hehehe!!
    who is driving that small car? who? philipino or indonisian, hhehehe!
    who is driving that rocking like earthquake car? who? indian. hehehehe!

  20. Hello,
    I am a songwriter from the UK.
    Recently I released my new educational road safety song titled: Put Your Seat Belt On
    which can be heard freely from the direct link below.
    I am sure that your community and their children will absolutely love hearing and learning my new safety song.
    It teaches children in a fun memorable way the importance of wearing your seat belt in the car.
    You can learn more about my song by reading the news report from Road Safety GB at the link below.
    I hope that you enjoy visiting my website and find my song both enjoyable and educational.

    Kind regards.

    Direct link to listen to my new road safety song:

    News story about my song reported by Road Safety GB:

  21. Another way to increase the revenues of international manufacturers by scaring the shit out of people.

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