Background Qatar is a rapidly developing country with the majority of its multi-cultural population living in the State’s capital, Doha. Car use is high and accidents common. Families are large, on average, and the use of child passenger restraint systems is almost non-existent across all cultures and nationalities. Hamad International Training Centre created a public awareness campaign (Kulluna), with funding from ConcocoPhillips, Qatar and support from Safe Kids Worldwide, to train members of the community to become Child Passenger Safety Technicians to educate parents and caregivers about the need for, and correct use of, child passenger restraints (aka “car seats”).
Methods The first CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician) course took place in December 2012 with the aid of expert instructors from Safe Kids Worldwide (SKW). Candidate numbers were small but so enthusiastic that word of mouth soon spread about the high quality and importance of the training.
Results Since 2012 Hamad International Training Centre (HITC) has now run 10 CPST courses and trained over 85 people to become technicians. Due to the mobile nature of our populations, several technicians have left Doha but are spreading the good work around so that recently another State in the Region has introduced the same course with the help of our trained technician. HITC itself now has 5 locally trained Instructors which will allow us to continue the training independently of our SKW instructors. The activities of the technicians have started to have an effect with more people becoming aware that we run these courses. In addition, we have just run the first Special Needs CPS course for children with special needs who cannot use standard restraint systems. The technicians are regularly involved in various activities to raise awareness, as well as community check-up events where they meet families face to face for direct help and advice in the use and selection of child car seats.
Conclusions Our actions have not been politically based but have been noticed by government agencies responsible for legislation, health and safety. As a result, HITC has been appointed as the lead agency in a National Awareness campaign to roll out the CPST course across the whole country. This will involve creating hundreds of new CPS technicians and the setting up of strategic “checking stations” where parents and caregivers can come to get advice on fitting and choosing car seats for their children. We present this project as a model for introducing life-saving training in a challenging and difficult environment.
- Car Seats