Thursday, June 7, 2012

Your child, your responsibility - Keep them safe on the road!!

Picture this scenario.

It's a bright sunny morning and it's the weekend. You leave home with your family including children, and you have planned lots of exciting activities for the day at the zoo and the park. All of you get into the car, you wear your seatbelt and so does the person sitting in the passenger seat next to you - Of course because it is mandatory. You've heard a lot about how children should be safe in cars as well, so you start to buckle up your children who are in the seat behind you. But of course they refuse and throw tantrums. You waste a whole 20 minutes coaxing and cajoling them but to no avail. Resignedly and rather unhappily, you go back to your seat as you don't want to ruin everyone's mood - and you let the kids do what they want i.e bouncing around at the back of the car as always.


Sadly though - all of you never make it to the zoo and the play park. 


Instead you find yourself in hospital with wounds all over, and luckily enough the kids have escaped only with minor injuries. 


Did you ever think of all this when you left home today morning? Of course not. You imagined you would be lucky as always and everyone would be driving at a comfortable speed obeying every road rule. Not once in your wildest dreams did you think that YOU and YOUR family would be victims of road rage. 


So many people don't get this second chance that YOU just got. Their lives are wiped out in those very few seconds and that's it - it's all over.

Unfortunately we always wait until the day for some incident to happen which will serve as a wake up call. The truth is - we may not always be lucky to be alive to realize it. It is just a matter of seconds before it's all over.

For every story of survivors of road accidents; there are 20 stories of people and children who don't survive. Of recent, the statistics especially in the UAE are rather alarming. Every other day, there is one such story in the newspaper blaring out on the front page and the circumstances in which these accidents happen are horrific. Take a look at these links:

http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/dubai-car-accidents-up-but-deaths-drop-this-year-2012-03-17-1.448802

http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/child-among-six-injured-in-dubai-road-accidents-in-five-days

And if that's not enough to wake you up, take a look at this video. It summarizes everything that I possibly have to say on this topic that is so very close to my heart.


We cannot control how other people drive and whether or not they go around obeying road rules. BUT what we can surely control is our safety inside our own vehicle. As parents - it is our main responsibility to ensure that our children are safe and protected NO MATTER WHAT.

If I had a coin for each time I have ignored my child's tantrums and buckled him up in his seat in the car - I would be a millionnaire now. I'm probably the mean mom for him, but my child's safety is more important to me than giving in to his tantrums and glorifying my image in his eyes. I don't care what he thinks of me at that point - because I know that as his age he does not realize how important it is for him to stay safe but I do.

Road safety campaigns have now been launched all over the UAE and people are being urged to use a car seat for their child. Let's be very honest, how many people actually pay heed to these awareness campaigns? Hardly. Most people just give random excuses like 'Oh a car seat is too expensive' or, 'Oh my child never listens to me and I can't buckle her in because she screams and cries until I give in'.

Really now? As my fellow college mate Christina aptly said - 'What's more important? Giving in to your child's screams and not buckling up OR never hearing them scream again?'.


As a parent what can you do?

It is indeed YOUR responsibility as a parent to drive safely and stay within speed limits. Of course, I don't need to reiterate that PLEASE don't use your cell phones even on a hands free as that is distracting as well. And definitely no texting or Facebooking whilst you are driving. Who needs blaring music? Not you and definitely not your kids. 

It is as yet not mandatory in the UAE for children to be buckled into their car seats. I truly wish for the UAE government to wake up soon and start imposing fines on such careless parents.

If you are reading this and you are guilty of not buckling up your child in his/her car seat - then DO IT TODAY.

Because remember, there may not be a tomorrow. 

1 comment:

Tara said...

Well said Urmila and very true. Its better to be safe than sorry! I feel very strongly about buckling kids up (screaming/crying/biting) whatever be the situation. I remember a very funny statement I heard when I got the twins their car seats. A friend told me "Oh our Indian kids just don't sit still" I told her "that's not an Indian thing, its because the parents don't enforce it." Make the kid feel its important(no compromises) and he/she will definitely get the message. Six months back they finally made it compulsory in Singapore. Hope they do the same in UAE too.