A new study carried out by Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Hamad Trauma Centre has found that not only are child car seats in Qatar in compliance with European standards, they are also available at reasonable prices.
The results of the study pave the way for efforts to support the implementation of a law on the use of child seats in vehicles in the future.
The study, carried out as part of the Qatar Foundation National Priorities Research Programme Grant ‘Young Kids in Safe Seats’, was conducted by the Hamad Trauma Centre in partnership with the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) and the International Injury Research Unit of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland, US.
“The primary objective of the study was to compare interventions designed to increase the use of car seats by children under the age of five years. The study also collected baseline information on other aspects of car seat or child restraint systems used amongst these children,” said senior consultant Dr Ruben Peralta, the director of the Trauma and Surgical Critical Care Fellowship Programme at the Hamad Trauma Centre.
Peralta, who was also the lead principal investigator for the study, said that the findings of the research were very positive, showing that a wide variety of car seats, at a wide price range, are available at retail outlets in the country.
“Importantly, all the car seats complied with the European standard for car seat quality. Based on the minimum wage to sponsor immediate family members (spouse or children) to join them to live in Qatar, the median price for a child car seat was equivalent to one day’s pay,” Peralta explained.
“The World Health Organisation Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office has identified the need to increase the use of child car seats as a priority for reducing the incidence of preventable injuries to child passengers in the region,” he added. “Anecdotal reports have attributed low child car seat use to their expense and unavailability, prompting car seat giveaway programmes, but an assessment of the local market had not been conducted before this recent study.”
Dr Rafael Consunji, a co-investigator on the study and the director of the Hamad Injury Prevention Programme, explained that the study findings set the stage for future concerted efforts to support the implementation and enforcement of a national car seat law for Qatar.
“This study shows that the local market can provide globally-certified and reasonably priced car seats for all children in Qatar,” he said. “Unavailability and expense cannot be cited as barriers to their use and the market is prepared for legislation requiring car seats.
“This is of utmost importance because properly restraining children in car seats is the only proven means of preventing severe injuries and death to our most precious and vulnerable passengers.”