A rapid market survey on the availability of car seats in Qatar Implications for child passenger safety
Allen, Katharine A.
Hyder, Adnan A.
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Despite the high income level in Arabian Gulf countries, people in the region need to improve their use of child restraint systems (CRSs) to reduce the incidence of preventable injuries to child automobile passengers. Anecdotal reports have attributed the resistance to using CRSs to the expense and unavailability of the systems, prompting car seat giveaway programs. Previous studies have not assessed the adoption of CRS. This study reports the results of a rapid market survey (RMS) to understand the availability, characteristics, and affordability of CRSs in Qatar and recommend future child restraint policies and legislation. Methods: The RMS identified all retail outlets that sell CRSs in Qatar and collected standard data on each restraint system: brand, model number, age/weight limits, compliance with standards, availability, and language of the owner’s manual. A previously utilized metric for child safety devices was used to measure affordability. Results: The RMS showed a sufficient number (83) and variety (five types) of car seat models at 15 retail outlets, selling at a wide price range of $14–$1,399. All the car seats complied with the European standard. Only 2% showed a manufacturing or expiry date. A user manual was available for 71% of the seats and in different languages, but only 28% appeared in Arabic. The median CRS price was equivalent to the wages for less than one day of work. Conclusion: The RMS demonstrates the availability, variety, and affordability of CRSs in Qatar. Unavailability and expense cannot be cited as barriers to use CRS, and the market is prepared for legislation requiring car seats for children in Qatar. Areas for improvement include requiring user manuals for all seats, especially in Arabic; requiring that all car seats comply with globally accepted safety standards, especially for expiry/manufacturing dates, given the harsh local climate; and encouraging further varieties of CRSs in the local market.
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