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Muscat: Road safety experts have urged all residents to comply with the new car seat law for all children under the age of four, due to kick in on March 1.
From then, it will be compulsory for all children aged four and under to be sitting in child car seats.
“I think the entire community is happy. Well done to the authorities. They have made it happen and it is a reality now. I think we need to make more efforts to explain the rule. It is now mandatory for all parents and drivers who have children up to four years of age to use child car seats,” Ali Al Barwani, CEO of Oman’s Road Safety Association, said.
At present, three categories of car seats are available in the Omani market and shopkeepers are stocking up ahead of next month.
“There is a category for age zero to 12 and zero to four,” Al Barwani remarked.
“It does take a bit of advanced skill to assemble but manufacturers explain the ways to select the correct seat. It depends on the age, weight, and height of the child. All these factors decide which car seat parents should buy. There is a seat for newborns that can be used until they are 12 months old. This seat must be placed facing the back, which keeps the child safer and well protected,” he added.
“Then, there is another seat for children aged between one and four, but this can be used for younger kids as well. This seat can face backwards, if certain features are there,” Al Barwani said.
“This seat is stronger and provides better protection. Another seat is for children from the age of four to six or nine, but it can be used for children up to the age of 12, because it has a booster. Please, just follow the instructions and use these seats accordingly,” he added.
As some sections might be concerned about the cost of the car seat, Al Barwani reassured residents that the seats were
being made available at an affordable rate.
“You can start as low as OMR20 or OMR15, from my experience, and it goes up from there, depending on the taste or the luxury of people,” he said. “You can get a good child seat between OMR20 and OMR30. They are available everywhere. To all the people on the road, this is for your kids and their safety, which is the number one priority,” he further said.
“We will make these available online, God willing. There are many websites for English speakers. One of them is www.ultimateguide.com. Just enter the weight and the date of birth of your child and it will automatically take you to the right picks of the child car seat,” Al Barwani added.
Meanwhile, welcoming the new ROP regulations, citizens and residents said these laws were good for road safety in Oman. “The ROP has taken the right step and this will help decrease the number of road accidents. Now, we only need to see whether people will follow these laws and how they will be implemented,” Ahsan, a resident, said.
“We have seen the number of accidents decreasing in the past years, thanks to some of these laws implemented by the ROP. This is another law that will keep people safe. We look forward to it,” Alya Al Harthy, an Omani national, said.
The National Centre for Statistics and Information reported that as of November 2017, 3,478 accidents took place in Oman, down from 4,260 during the same period last year. A total of 4,721 accidents took place in 2016.
According to data released by the ROP and the Directorate General of Traffic, one in roughly eight road deaths that took place in 2016 involved a child. Of the 692 deaths and 3,261 injuries recorded that year, 82 deaths and 393 injuries involved children aged 15 and under. As many as 48 deaths and 183 injuries occurred among children aged six and under, while another 34 deaths and 210 injuries involved children between the ages of seven and 15.