The Municipal Council of Sharjah has announced that local authorities will soon launch a safety awareness campaign as a first step towards protecting children in high-rise buildings.
The move is a much needed one after a tragic spate of accidents in November and December left four children dead in Sharjah after falls from balconies and windows.
Up until now, the local authorities have been waiting for the Child Protection Higher Committee and the Ministry of Interior Child Protection Centre to issue a new set of codes regarding construction and safety specifications in high-rise buildings to promote child safety.
Salem Obaid Al Shamsi, Chairman of Sharjah Municipal Council, explained that each body represented in the Council will participate in the safety awareness campaign, including Sharjah Municipality, Sharjah Police and Sharjah Civil Defence.
"We have already discussed the safety measures and standards required for balconies and windows in high-rise buildings in Sharjah, and the importance of coordinating efforts between different parties to stop the reoccurrence of children falling from high buildings," said Al Shamsi, who chaired the meeting of Sharjah Municipal Council earlier this week.
Brigadier General Abdullah Saeed Al Suwaidi, Director General of Sharjah Civil Defence, emphasised that part of the responsibility of child safety lies on the parents who are unaware of the gravity that can follow from leaving a child alone at home.
"Even if the child is at home with the housemaid, that is not enough. Families should always watch their children and no amount of protective measures can compensate for a parent's absence," Brig. Gen. Al Suwaidi stressed, noting that all high-rise buildings in Sharjah are required to have balcony railings that are at least 1.2 metres high as mandated by federal regulations.