In a report by the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region 1, the non-use of child restraints for children was identified as a key risk factor that can be addressed by the adoption and enforcement of legislation that will increase their use. Currently, there are no child restraint laws in Qatar. The objective of the study is to report baseline data on child restraint use and to provide evidence to inform the passage of child passenger restraint laws in Qatar.


This roadside observational survey was conducted as part of the Young Kids in Safe Seats Project funded by the Qatar Foundation. Trained observers conducted roadside observations of passenger restraint use in vehicles with children, less than 5 years, at 12 sampling sites. Standard data was collected per observation: seating position, restraint used and appropriateness of restraint used.


Of 2232 observations of young child passengers; 41% were properly restrained, 21% improperly restrained and 38% unrestrained, 10.9% were on an adult's lap. The most common seating location was right 2nd row followed by left 2nd row. These 2 locations also had the highest rates of proper restraint use. The positions with the lowest restraint use were the front and 2nd row middle seat. One in 9 children observed was illegally seated in the front row, most on the lap of an adult [38.3%] or unrestrained [34.4%].


This is the first observational study in Qatar that measures child restraint rates in children younger than 5. Less than half of these children are traveling safely. Priority areas for intervention include: enforcement of existent laws banning children in the front seat, education about the risks for children in an adult's lap and encouraging the proper use of age/size appropriate restraint systems. These findings can inform the development of national child passenger restraint laws.


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