[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract
Introduction Traffic mortality in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is high; 2000–2006 incidence was reported as 10.1 per 100 000 person years for 0- to 4-year-olds and 7.8 for 5- to 14-year-olds. A 2004 study found only 4% of front-seated children and 1% in the rear restrained. Current legislation does not mandate child restraints (CRs); even for adults enforcement is limited. Since traffic police should be capable of supporting and enforcing regulations protecting children, their knowledge and attitudes toward CRs were assessed.
Methods A January to February 2008 cross-sectional survey in Al A in city included visiting each police station during shift changeover using self-administered questionnaires on socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge, perceptions and attitudes about CR.
Results The final sample included 260 traffic police (response 70%), 56% UAE citizens and 62% aged 25–34 years. For children <12-years-old, 94% felt rear seating was safest, although 3% chose the drivers lap. Misconceptions were greater respecting age-appropriate CRs, with 50% choosing booster seats as safest for infants, 48% rear-facing seats for 1- to 4-year-olds, and 50% rear-facing seats for 4- to 8-year-olds. CRs were felt necessary for front occupants among 86% and rear 87%. Traditional views on causality of crashes were prevalent; 93% cited destiny as a factor, 17% evil eye and 15% jinns.
Conclusion Despite generally positive attitudes towards CRs, knowledge on age-appropriate types was limited and traditional views on causality prevalent. Education of police should include preventability of child injury and age-appropriate CRs
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In United Arab Emirates (UAE), a high-income developing country, safety belt (SB) legislation was implemented in 1998, covering only front-seated adults on highways outside cities. We assessed wearing of SBs after 5 years, together with use of safety restraints by rear passengers and children, perceptions about SBs, and use of tinted glass.
A cross-sectional survey in 2003-2004 in Al Ain, population 400,000 and the main desert city of UAE, used random sampling of petrol stations; about 80% of UAE's population is non-citizens. Five of 30 stations were selected, including 3 different speed zones; vehicles with children were over-sampled. Drivers were interviewed by questionnaire. Use of safety restraints and presence of tinted glass were verified by observation. Confounding and correlation were assessed by stratification and logistic regression.
The sample included 500 vehicles, containing 959 adults and 876 children; 382 vehicles had children. SBs were used by 29% of drivers, 14% of front-seat and 2% of rear-seat adult passengers. 23% of children were in front; only 4% in front and 1% in the rear were restrained. SBs were worn by only 11% of UAE-citizen drivers and 10% of off-duty police and military. Odds ratio for non-use by citizens was 3.55 (95% CI 1.96-6.42). Use was greater among older drivers (p < 0.0005, X(2) trend). Reasons for non-use of SBs included discomfort 42%, forgetfulness 25%, uselessness 17%, carelessness 13%, and dangerous 3%. Among citizens, 15% believed SBs are dangerous. Tinted glass was present in 68% of vehicles.
SB legislation failed to protect the population, with low use of restraints by citizens, military, and police, and virtually none among children and rear passengers. Lessons include the necessity of drafting laws that provide comprehensive and effective protection, study of cultural constraints to compliance with injury prevention measures, and locally effective interventions to prepare citizens and enforcers for the expected new behaviour. Highly tinted glass is widespread and poses a barrier to enforcement.