The Qatar National Child Passenger Safety Programme – Ghalai was inaugurated by HE the Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari on Monday at Women’s Wellness and Research Center (WWRC).
Ghalai is a result of a long standing and unique collaboration between public and private sectors and the particpants are the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Hamad Medical Corporation, (HMC),Primary Healthcare Corporation, Sidra Medicine, Qatar University, Conoco Philips and Saleh Al Hamad Al Mana Co.
The General Directorate of Traffic director general Brig Mohamed Saad al-Kharji, National Traffic Safety Committee secretary-general Brig Mohamed Abdullah al-Malki, MoPH's Public Health director Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani, Hamad International Training Center (HITC) director Dr Khalid Abdulnoor Saifeldeen and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
A child put on a proper car seat
At the launch, Dr al-Kuwari unveiled the country’s first Ghalai Drive Through Test Station at WWRC. The station will be staffed by trained child passenger safety technicians who will help parents fit child safety seats in their car. Several more such stations are planned in 2019 and will be operated and overseen by HITC.
At the stations, child passenger safety technicians will fit car seats inside vehicles for families as well as educate parents about proper seating techniques. The first purpose-built facility at WWRC is located in the basement parking of the hospital and parents will be able to book appointments to have their car seats fitted.
“Qatar is committed to work towards ensuring members of the community and especially young children are as safe as possible on Qatar’s roads.” Dr al-Kuwari said, assuring that “Child passenger safety is an essential element of Decade of Action (2011-2020) global plan for road safety and we are proud that Qatar is leading the way with this unique and lifesaving service.”
The most common causes of improper child car seat use include ignoring the manufacturer's instructions for installation, not following the correct directions for the child’s age, weight, mental, and physical development, installing the seat too loosely, not tightening the harness straps properly, and failing to use all of the harnesses available to properly secure a child into the correct position.
Dr Saifeldeen, said the Ghalai programme is a collaborative work between the government and private sector in support of the National Strategy for Traffic Safety.
“We are planning to add more stations in the coming months. We will open a new station at Sidra Medicine within a few months. We will also have a station at the MoI office premises as well as another one in a leading shopping mall,” noted Dr Saifeldeen.
“With more than 20,000 births a year in Qatar, the new initiative can play a significant role in improving education and awareness and raising road traffic safety for newborns and young children. The programme has a number of components that includes, child passenger technician training and certification programme, purpose built car seat check/testing stations, school visit programme, direct engagement with member of the community and research and evaluation,” explained the official.
“The car seat check stations will enable parents and care givers to visit with an appointment or as walk ins, and be provided with expert advice and demonstration on how to keep their children safe in the car and how to correctly select and use the appropriate car seat for their children.”added Dr Saifeldeen.