Parental neglect a cause for concern in the UAE
Two incidences of children found dead in cars after being forgotten inside by their parents, have raised alarm in the UAE and a possible legislation to punish negligent care takers. Laura Mtaini asks if more awareness and a more sensitive, but firm approach is the need of the hour.
July 11, 2012 12:17 by kippreport
The recent incidents of children being found dead due to parental neglect, has prompted the UAE government to draft the first Federal Child Protection Law in the country. The draft states that leaving children unattended and locked in cars is illegal and defaulters will face criminal charges if found guilty.
Two deaths of children aged three and five, were reported in the UAE in Umm Al Quwain and Sharjah within the span of just one week. The deaths in these separate incidences were caused by hyperthermia (heat stroke) due to the fact that the children were left alone, locked inside the respective cars in the summer heat.
Kalba, an Emirati boy aged three was found dead in his father’s vehicle after being forgotten in it for almost four hours. Merely five days later, another five-year-old Emirati girl dies after her grandmother forgets her in the car for almost two hours while visiting a friend in Umm Al Quwain.
Raed el Marzooqi, head of the occupational health and safety section of Dubai municipality says these incidents are not very common in the country and estimates them to 1 or 2 every three years.
Other residents, such as Osama Ismail, are hoping to help the community themselves. Ismail, a Syrian communication engineer for the Abu-Dhabi police claims he has heard about two such accidents in Abu Dhabi and another twelve in Dubai. Ismail has now devoted his time to building a monitor with several “life-saving” features to prevent hot-car deaths among infants. The device aims to remind parents or caretakers of the presence of children in the backseat. After 11 minutes the device sets off an alarm to tell anyone nearby that a child is in danger.
It is not clear whether the new child protection law against negligent parents or initiatives from the community will solve the issue, but spreading awareness of these incidents might do the trick. Afterall, the guilty parents and caregivers in the cases above, did not intentionally kill their own children and will now probably bear the brunt of that guilt for the rest of their lives. Hence, more awareness and a more sensitive, but firm approach is the need of the hour.