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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 08/11/2012

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Dirty and cramped childcare facilities are some of the almost 80 such facilities in Dubai which have been fined, this year alone. The revelations came as Dubai Municipality launched a new child safety campaign on Wednesday.

An official said 49 fines were issued to nurseries, while 27 fines were issued to kids' salons, resulting in total fines of Dh91,700.

As many as 97 warnings were also issued.

The common violations ranged from cramped conditions in nurseries due to admitting more children than allowed as per the space specifications, staff not possessing valid occupational health cards and lack of general cleanliness.

The month-long campaign will focus on nurseries, kids' salons and swimming pools as well as toy safety and safe use of hand sanitisers by kids.

The Department of Public Health and Safety director, Redha Hassan Salman, said her department would conduct the campaign, which will see intensified inspections at nurseries and kids' salons.

With the municipality investigating at least two drowning cases involving children this year, child safety in swimming pools is also a serious issue that civic officials are calling on parents to be more alert to.

Salman said the Department has received 64 complaints related to swimming pools so far this year, with a total 815 pools under its jurisdiction.

"We have investigated six swimming pool accidents which included two children. It is good that we did not have many cases related to children. But, we do not want to take any chances," he said.

The campaign is offering pool safety tips for parents, children and lifeguards. In the toy safety drive, Salman said more emphasis would be given to educating parents about hazardous toys.

"I want to address parents mainly because they are the people who select the toys and they have the buying power."

Last year, the municipality banned 184 toys in Dubai. The department has conducted 288 inspections in toy shops this year and received 22 complaints about various toys.

"In many cases, the violations are linked to a low (level of) awareness," he said.

"This time we are prepared to carry out a comprehensive campaign to cover all important areas of risks for which the kids may be exposed to instead of focusing on separate areas on different times.

"We have focused on these subjects and we will address parents, salon workers, nursery staff, lifeguards in hotels and facilities' managements," he said.

The civic body has printed thousands of brochures to be distributed through shopping malls, public parks, beaches, playgrounds, amusement centres and Dubai Municipality (DM) centres. Short films with awareness messages on dangerous toys and swimming pool safety will be screened at DM centres and shopping malls.

The brochures include health and safety requirements for nurseries and kids' salons, safety guidelines and requirements for swimming pools, safe use of hand sanitizers and information about toy hazards and tips for selecting safe toys.

Speaking about the significance of the awareness programme on the safe use of hand sanitisers, Salman said the department launched the drive after the excessive and wrong usage of sanitisers was highlighted by the World Health Organisation.

"We have issued hand wash precautions for helping the parents to teach proper ways of using hand sanitisers by children who have very sensitive skin. People should change the wrong notion that the more the sanitiser is used, the better," he said.


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