There has been a lot of attention given to road safety in Oman recently including a speech from the Sultan and a 5 day Road Safety Expo. This attention is justified; Oman has a really high rate of road accidents and consequential deaths. I'm sure by now everyone is aware of this and I know the subject has been blogged to death.
My own particular concern though is that in Oman it is more common than not for children to be without seatbelts in cars (and I might add that although I have seen babies car seats in stores I have yet to notice one in a car). Not only this, but I have often seen them climbing all about the car, on the front seats and over the dashboard. I have seen a child with his head hanging out the window and 2 standing out of the sun roof! This lack of caution is more surprising because it totally contradicts the nature of Omani society, which is incredibly family-oriented.
I know it's also uncommon for adults to wear seatbelts here, but adults can make their own decisions; children need safety decisions to be taken for them. I don't understand what is wrong with sitting your child in the back of the car and clicking the seatbelt in??
And as for people holding children on their laps, I know of a test done in New Zealand where they showed that rugby players, being considered to have more than average strength, don't even have the ability to hold on to a child in the event of a car crash. So I'm sure no-one else could.
There's only one justification I've heard for this so far, that it is in Allah's hands when we die. Well....although this is true, it isn't a particularly good point. Nobody would jump off a cliff and say those words. Seatbelts are there for a reason and why why why ignore such a simple safety precaution?