In the United Arab Emirates, the government pays much attention to road safety issues, including the usage of child safety seats. However, the survey by Gibbon (2019) shows that more than 50% of the population does not know about current laws and regulations. However, road injuries remain one of the leading death causes among children (two out of three fatal accidents) (“Road safety,” 2020). At this moment, the Ministerial Resolution No. 178 of 2017 covers the aspect of mandatory seat belts for all passengers in a care and child safety seats for children up to four years (“Road safety,” 2020). If a driver violates this law, an AED 400 fine and four black points slap have to be considered (“Road safety,” 2020). Therefore, programs to educate children, adolescents, and parents are developed to promote a conscious society.
The reasons for low child safety seat usage rates vary, depending on people’s awareness and experience. I believe that the lack of information about child safety in cars is the main cause of why parents neglect this legal responsibility. Despite the intention to promote order, not enough ads are offered to the population. The second explanation of such low ratings is connected with the young age of this particular regulation. During the last several decades, families were not obliged to buy child safety seats and managed to travel. Many European parents think that if their childhood was safe without this means, it is possible to follow the same way and protect children. In other words, the population does not have a chance to improve their knowledge, as well as the quality of life.
To address the importance of child safety seat usage, several macro-level interventions must be proposed. First, instead of sharing some business issues and services on road billboards, road safety ads have to be created. As soon as a driver sees a happy child in a safety seat, an idea to buy one could emerge. Second, it should be an obligation for retailers and auto sellers to add at least one free child safety seat to every car. Compared to the price of a vehicle, the price of a seat is hard to indicate and feel the difference. Finally, the distribution of brochures with statistics about road safety and parents’ responsibilities is recommended. If people are informed about these issues, some of them would certainly want to protect their children.
Mental Health of Children During a Pandemic
People are challenged to protect their children’s mental health during coronavirus pandemic. Regarding the unknown nature of the virus and the impossibility to predict its end in the UAE or in the world, many long- and short-term health outcomes are observed. Gillet (2020) discusses the impact of coronavirus quarantine and self-isolation on children’s mental health. The example of Wilbur Langtry White shows how a family makes a decision to put the child on medication to manage his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (Gillet, 2020). The pandemic leads to the necessity of changing therapy quickly due to limited opportunities and the desire to help. A short-term result is the improvement of the child’s health by staying at home and focusing on his basic needs and available opportunities. A long-term mental health impact on 3-6-year-old children is limited development and the impossibility to understand things they do not see (Gillet, 2020). Anxiety and depression due to the absence of friends, communication, and active fresh air games cannot be ignored.
During the coronavirus crisis, the role of ECE teachers has to be re-evaluated to help children and support parents. Within a short period, schools, colleges, and universities launch e-learning programs (Fernandez, 2020). Teachers’ workload at home has been dramatically increased, but they must use their experience and share knowledge of how to get students’ attention and keep them engaged (Fernandez, 2020). Sometimes, ECE teachers are able to recognize the needs, challenges, and possibilities of children faster than parents, and it is their responsibility to maintain children’s development by any possible means.
At this period, ECE teachers may partner with families of young children in a variety of ways. For example, teachers inform parents that it is normal when children take leading roles in their education. Children say what they have already known, and parents examine these achievements and continue contributing to development. The exchange of photos and videos is another method to support families. This form of connection with an outside world is probably the best way to forget about isolation limits. Finally, the “always put your own oxygen mask on first and then assist your children” rule is the key recommendation a teacher should explain to a parent (Fernandez, 2020). ECE teachers should talk directly to parents and demonstrate their interest in parents’ well-being and an overall situation. These simple steps are effective either for the UAE population or for other countries.
- Fernandez, P. (2020). Coronavirus: Learning and teaching at a time of pandemic. Gulf News. Web.
- Gibbon, G. (2019). Over 50% of parents in UAE don’t know laws on child seatbelts – Survey. Arabian Business. Web.
- Gillet, K. (2020). How will the pandemic affect children’s mental health in the long term? We ask UAE parents and experts. The National. Web.
- Road safety. (2020). The United Arab Emirates’ government portal. Web.