Parents and guardians who leave behind their children in locked vehicles can be slapped 10 years in jail and fines of up to Dh1 million in the UAE. Abu Dhabi Police has warned that leaving children alone and unattended inside vehicles while parents or guardians go shopping or for any other errands is a crime punishable by law.
The punishment falls under the UAE’s Child Rights Law called Wadeema’s Law, which aims to protect the rights of children, especially their mental, physical and emotional well-being.
The warning is apt as such occasional oversights have led to the death of children in private cars and school buses. There have also been instances of children accidentally locking themselves while playing inside parked cars resulting in death.
With temperatures rising and peak summer setting in, it is not safe to leave children alone as temperatures can soar up to 60 degrees Celsius in locked vehicles under direct sunlight. A child left inside vehicle could experience heat stroke and suffocation, which can lead to their death in less than 10 minutes.
The period from June until the end of August is the hottest period of the year in the Arabian Peninsula. Temperatures crossed 50 degrees Celsius this week in the UAE.