| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Road safety in Dubai

Lesley Cully tells us why it’s important for kids to wear a seat belt in Dubai

© ITP Images

Who hasn’t sighed in disbelief or screamed in frustration at parents who let their kids run wild in the back of the car? While most of us just shake our heads, mum of two, Lesley Cully is fighting to change things, launching the now hugely successful Facebook campaign, ‘Buckle up in the back Dubai’.

Passionate about back-seat safety, Lesley was flabbergasted when she saw how blasé some parents were about buckling up their kids. ‘I was totally shocked when I saw that, for many people, strapping your child in is simply a matter of choice – and often one that isn’t taken.’

After several altercations with other drivers and vocal encounters with parents at her daughter’s school, Lesley decided to launch the campaign. ‘My husband was, frankly, fed up and embarrassed at the way I’d constantly remonstrate with other drivers about their kids bouncing around in the back of their cars. I’m not afraid to say what I think, and if we were at traffic lights and there was a chance for me to tell them, I’d do exactly that. A couple of times it actually made a difference, and I could see parents strapping their kids in after I’d spoken out. The way I see it is, if I manage to make just one child safer, then all the effort is worth it.’

The busy mum of two girls launched the ‘Buckle up Dubai’ campaign back in May and already has in excess of 500 members with more fans joining her group every day. What started as a humble Facebook page has really taken off and, these days, her greatest challenge is to make sure the potential of ‘Buckle up Dubai’ is fully realised. To do this, she’s targeting those who will directly benefit from being strapped in properly – kids themselves. Harnessing ‘pester power’, Lesley plans to launch an education initiative and take her message directly into Dubai’s schools. ‘It’s easy for parents to ignore what I’m saying or consider my actions interfering, but if their own kids are coming home from school and reminding them that they need to be strapped in, then the battle will be won so much faster,’ she argues.

Lesley also believes that getting parents to be aware of car seat safety from the very beginning is essential, and she is determined to enlist the support of Dubai’s maternity units. ‘When I was expecting my first baby in the UK, a week before my due date, my husband and I realised we had no idea how to use the new car seat. So there we were, out in the street, looking like a right couple of doughnuts as we tried to work it out. But it’s all part of being a new parent in the UK – almost a rite of passage. You get your car seat well before your due date because it’s illegal to take your new baby home without one.’

She adds, ‘It really is a wonderful moment, when you strap your new baby into their car seat for the first time, because they look so sweet and snug and safe. And surely that’s what every parent wants? For their child to continue to be as safe through life as they were on that very first journey home.’
For more information, join Lesley’s ‘Buckle up in the back Dubai!!’ campaign on www.facebook.com.

By Karen Iley
Time Out Dubai,

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