Thursday, November 3, 2011

Children Are Treasures Not Airbags!

Dear parents in Saudi-Arabia,

I've noticed that many of you don't care too much about the safety of your children in the cars.

I have always wondered how you can have this nonchalant attitude whilst driving among the most insane, irresponsible, reckless maniacs drivers in the world?

You love and cherish your children so dearly, yet you place them under such danger by not securing them in seat belts and car seats!
Don't you wish to keep them safe in the crazy traffic of Saudi-Arabia? Did you know that Saudi Arabia's roads are the world's most dangerous ones? A person is killed on them every 90 minutes. A fifth of them are children under 12 years old.
The next one could be your child. Think about it.

Would you let your child run around on a highway, or play in a busy parking lot? I didn't think so.
So why do you let your child jump around in your speeding car? Don't you think its dangerous to let him hang out of the windows? How about having him sit between yourself and the steering wheel? Some people make fun of your careless attitude and say you are using your baby as an Airbag.

Fathers, do you think because you are such great drivers nothing will ever happen to you? Think again.
Do you realize how many children are out there actually driving the cars?
Have you thought about how many road hooligans there are in the streets chasing women and causing accidents?
There is nothing your excellent driving skills can do to prevent accidents caused by other peoples reckless driving habits.

You might think you don't need a car seat or seat belts because Allah will protect your family. It's time to re-think this.
Children are treasures given to you by the grace of God. He has put them under your care. It is your responsibility to protect your child from any harm that you possibly can. God trusts you, are you worth His trust? Parents will be held accountable for this trust on the Day of Judgement.

You wouldn't let your child go in a lions cage at the zoo and just think Allah will protect your child. That would be careless and irresponsible. Just like having your child in your lap while driving. Or allowing her to stand out of the sunroof while speeding on the highway. Equally irresponsible and dumb as placing your child in that cage. Think about it.

In case of an accident, your precious infant will fly out of your lap like a football, no matter how hard you hold on to him. It's proven to be impossible to hold on to a child in case of collision.

Did you know that car seats and seat belts save lives? According to various studies they can cut the risk of infant fatalities by up to 80%.  The tools to help parents protect their child the best way possible are out there. Fulfill your parental responsibility and secure your child into them!

You probably heard the Hadith about the Bedouin that left his camel untied. The Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) said to him: "Be wise [first] and tie your camel, then trust in Allah."

Wouldn't this same golden advice also apply to the most valuable of possessions, your child?
Be wise and tie up your baby in a car seat! 
The rest is up to Allah.

Tips on what kind of car seat to get, instructions how to use them and statistics on child car safety:

This video clip should be watched by all parents:


Lavender © said...

Love this! YES for Road Safety Awareness!! I think every blogger should write a piece on it.. maye just maybe we can raise awareness ourselves!!!!

Ingrid said...

Laylah, when I was a child in the US most cars had seatbelts but no law required us to use them. No one I knew did. Now, everyone I know does. I feel naked if my car is moving and I don't have my seatbelt on. Buckling it is part of the physical routine of starting my car. But how did this change come to be?

When I was small, we all thought seatbelts were for sissies and people who worried too much. Carseats for kids were unimagined. This is what I saw take place that changed our attitudes:

News media began to talk a lot about big, bad accidents and how people who wore seatbelts survived accidents more often. Whenever there was a big accident anywhere in the country, the news would carry it like this. They began to talk about carseats and how they save innocent, beautiful lives.

Doctors and safety experts were quoted a lot on talk shows and news shows. Doctors, nurses pediatricians talked about it to patients in hospitals and doctor's offices, stressing how carseats save beautiful, innocent lives. Schools taught this to students and their parents, too.

People's attitudes changed enough that they asked their congressmen to pass seatbelt laws. Traffic officers gave tickets to people who didn't follow the law, and this was in the news, too.

For about 10 years there were a lot of advertisements, signs and television programs to teach people or remind them to "Buckle Up For Safety." The 80s commercials that featured crash test dummies and the slogan, "Don't be a dummy. Buckle up," became so much a part of our culture that an alternative rock band of the late 80s and 90s named itself the Crash Test Dummies. People would buy crash test dummy costumes for Halloween. That's how deep into our minds this campaign dug itself.

Once people really understood that not using carseats or seatbelts is very irresponsible, they completely changed. I know of very few people who don't use them anymore, and every person I know would say something forceful to a parent who didn't put their child into a carseat.

Saudi culture and politics are so different from my country's, but could this approach be adapted to work there?
Could doctors and nurses be pursuaded to plead with the King's ministers change the laws or enforce them? What about gathering statistics on underage driving and traffic fatalities to these children?
What about a charity (or charities) that would fund a prolonged advertising campaign to "Secure your child and trust Allah," or a campaign showing that riding an arabian horse or camel at 10 years old shows responsibility, but driving at 10 years old shows criminally clumsy parenting?

Sorry for the long comment, but this issue of traffic safety and children in Saudi shocks me a little. The US traffic safety campaign was very successfull, huh?

Noussa said...

I noticed the same thing in Tunisia and apparently they are absolutely not aware that in case of accidents they will have maybe the safe life thanks to their child who will have been of use to them as airbag... And I can say that I have already tried to convince persons and even by using religious arguments (your body is an amana, how can you think you will have no accidents while only Allah knows, etc)... They don't care at all?

Anonymous said...

same thing happens in Dubai... :[

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this excellent post I think you hit the nail for Saudis you have to approach things like this with taking that aspect into the equation will guarantee better success for change in attitudes. Speaking about judgement day should be efficient enough but the comparison about the camel left unattended is very thought provoking.
Visual messages are very strong also,I would recommend showing parents pictures of injured children or videos of how dummies fly out of cars vs how they stay untouched in car seats.
I would target hospitals!try maternity ward,women are emotional and will soak in any info better and birth of new life awakens parents sense of responsibility.

Thank you for the interesting blog

Minä said...

Tämän postauksen voisi lukea joka ikinen Turkissa asuvakin! :)

Marokon morsian said...

So true! Mahtava kirjoitus, jonka vois julkaista vaikka missä valistusoppaassa missä päin maailmaa vaan. Hyvin kirjoitettu! Itse mietin aina samoja seikkoja ja katselen kauhulla liikennekäyttäytymistä Marokossa, lienee aika lailla sama hälläväliä-mentaliteetti :S

Layla said...

Thank you everyone for your comments and apologies for not getting back to you sooner! I have been on a week long road trip around Saudi and haven't been able to update my blogs much..

Ingrid thanks for your insightful comment, you're right things weren't always so in the western countries either! We had a similar campaign in Finland too, we had constant reminders of accidents on TV, in the commercials and I can still envision those crash test dummies flying out of the cars!
That would be exactly what Saudi needs, a public awareness campaign.
They should enforce it on the children in schools and show educational clips on tv and all other media.

Even though people didnt use car seats and belts back in the 50's or whenever I dont think they used to let their kids hang out of windows and stand on the roofs..thats the shocking aspect of this whole thing in Saudi, the attitudes are just so care free its really unfathomable to me.

People think if they die in a car accident, it was because it was meant to be, Allah took their soul. Thats why they dont care..

The charity to fund an awareness campaign sounds like an excellent idea! Maybe a smart Princess could help out :)

Layla said...

Siiveton ja Marokon morsian-Kiitos!Sama halla-valia asenne siis vallitsee kaikissa arabimaissa..

Anonymous said...

oh this is very interesting to me as we are moving to thailand very soon and my husband said when he was there he saw families with babies and children on motorbikes, kids on laps in cars and the taxi's have no seat belts let alone baby seats. We have to hire a car for a few weeks until ours arrives and we are having so many troubles getting one with a child safety seat. Our baby is 18 months old and I am so afraid of just holding him on my lap