In accordance with the new traffic rules that came into effect on July 1, all children under the age of four are required to sit in car seats. Now, the UAE has also given carseat dealers in the country six months to comply with a new set of safety regulations which will be coming into effect.
On Tuesday, the UAE Cabinet approved a new set of specifications and standards for car seats sold in the UAE, reports Gulf News.
Proposed and formulated by the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma), the approved standards conform to European Union and US standards.
According to Abdullah Al Muaini, director-general of Esma, the new set of standards will ensure infants and toddlers are restrained in cars in compliance with the highest standards and in the best quality seats.
“We want to make sure people strap their children into the right kind of seats, that the seats carry out their purpose and that children are actually safe in them. Good quality seats are designed based on a specific science; they are not just pieces of plastic with some cushion,” said Al Muaini, elaborating that all child safety seats that don’t conform to Esma’s standards will be banned from sale from the end of this year.
The new regulations require car seats sold in the UAE to pass crash tests, as well as have proper labelling and classifications for different age groups and weight categories.
The right seat
“Parents must be educated about [choosing] the proper child seat. It is not about one seat fits all, it’s about using rear-facing child seats for babies, forward-facing child seats for toddlers and booster cushions for kids from the age of about four years onwards,” said Thomas Edelman, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE, a leading traffic safety advocate in the country.
Edelman also added that stores selling car seats must employ trained professionals who can install car seats correctly, as 35 percent of carseats are incorrectly installed, which could increase the chances of injury.
How car seats work
Infant car seats, for babies weighing up to 10 kgs, are rear-facing and designed to protect a child in the event of a crash by forming a protective cocooon. The reason behind the rear-facing position is so that in case of impact, the child will be pushed in to the seat and the shell and inlay protect the spine and vital parts of the child.
The raised sides next to the child’s head form a ‘side impact protection system’ in the event of a side collision and prevent the child’s head from moving too much.
Lastly, seats belts restrain the child, keeping him or her in the safest position. This position doesn't change in the event of a rear or side impact, keeping the child safe from harm in the event of an accident.
Types of car seats
- Group 0 and Group 0+: Rear-facing infant carriers for children up to 10kg and up to 13kg, respectively (from birth to nine or 12 months).
- Group 1: Child seats for children weighing 9kg to 18kg (about nine months to four years).
- Group 2 and 3: Full booster seats and cushions for children weighing 15kg to 25kg (about three-and-a-half years to six years) and from 22kg and to 36kg (about six years to 12 years).
Please ensure you buy the right seat to keep your baby as safe as possible.