Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Kids in Cars

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?


  1. in a crash test drop to simulate a 30mph (appx 50kmph) crash not one person could hold onto a Watermelon (used to replace a child) and of course the Watermelon created a red smear all over the windscreen

  2. Hmm that would make a good commercial to show people the dangers of not wearing seatbelts...or is it already one?

    Oh and thanks for the comment, it's my first one : )

  3. Hi, In Salalah I'm constantly outraged by the irresponsible behavior of parents.
    Some time ago I was aproached by a man who didn't appreciate the fact that I was forcing my child into it's child seat. He said I should give the child its way and let it sit in front. When I didn't give in he gave my kid OMR 1 and shook his head at me. But that's not all:
    The other day, when it started to rain, I nearly hit a swerving car that had 2 kids of about 7 years old hanging out of it to catch the rain while dad was on the phone.
    I see, little kids in the back of pick-up trucks
    At the weekend I'm regularly tailgated by rickety cars that are piled up with kids on a family outing.
    I also see parents who are buckled up who have babies on their laps.
    I see people that should be setting an example like DRIVING INSTRUCTORS and POLICE using their telephone while driving..
    I haven't seen any accidents involving children but I know it's just a matter of time....
    There are many road safety commercials on youtube. Check these out:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvxGXSGuHbA&feature=related (Watermelon)

  4. That man was so rude...maybe he'd have liked to let your child play with a knife as well! Is there a pattern?...when I was coming to Muscat on the plane from Doha I was watching the air stewardess sitting a young child on his mother's lap and fitting the special seatbelt. Well, the second she turned around the child had wriggled out from it and was walking up and down, and the same on landing. I really wanted to say to his mother...it won't hurt your child if you make him sit still for 10 minutes!
    And that watermelon commercial is pretty good, they should use it here : )

  5. as salam alaikum Victoria.

    I like shushu live here in salalah & YES i have a car seat for my lil man who is only 7 months old.

    You ask why people dont use car seats for their kids..well ill tell u why..
    - either they are too poor
    - they are probably ignorant parents who dont care
    -they dont care if their kids die in a car crash
    - because its AYB (SHAMEFULL YES SHAMEFULL)to have ur child in a car seat..someone said to my husband that we were jailing my son into the seat...id rather jail him in a seat than answer Allah for the death of my child due to my bad actions.
    - some parents just dont give a damm about their kids & having them hang out of windows and sun roofs is "fun"

    I have had soo many nasty comments about my son being in a car seat & everytime people comment i give them something back to think bout. When i see people with kids on their laps in the front fo cars or kids jumping around i shout at them and hope they hear me..i know my husband is embarassed cos i do shout loudly but i dont care.. a child's life means more to me.

    Allah forbid these people have to answer Allah on judgement day for their uneducated pathetic attitude...child abuse annoys me.. srry i cant be silent bout such topics..dnt mean to flood ur blog.

    hiyyach Allah.

  6. There is an expat lady in oman who runs the "selma & salim" organisations..it educates people bout car seats and she works with the government..she makes huge posters and has a lovely blog. ill try find the link and share it with u.

    hiyyach Allah

  7. Salim and Salima Safe and Sound - lots of local information.