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Times of Oman - 13.12.2015

Muscat: “God gave me another chance and I feel it is my responsibility to share my story so that people avoid such mistakes. I hope I can be the reason behind saving a human life.” This was the message to parents from a remorseful father whose four-year-old son narrowly survived after being locked, forgotten, in his hot car for nearly an hour. Zahid Khan’s son, Ayman Khan, was inadvertently locked in the car on Tuesday evening, as he rushed to finish some work at an office in the Darsait neighbourhood of the capital city. “Ayman insisted on joining me and my friend on our drive from my house in Bausher. The child wore seat belt and fell asleep a few minutes after the ride started,” Zahid Khan told the Times of Oman (TOO). 

 It was around 6:45pm and 25 degree Celsius outside when the child’s father and his friend disembarked from the Ford Explorer, leaving behind the sleeping child. “I spent around 45 minutes negotiating (business) at the office when my friend reminded me of Ayman,” Zahid said. A devastated Zahid immediately rushed back to the car to find his son alive, but exhausted and feeling suffocated due to lack of oxygen. “Thank God, he was alive. I quickly bought him water and juice before hospitalising him,” Zahid recalled. The child was discharged after undergoing medical checks that declared him out of danger. Following the incident, Zahid made a heartfelt plea to parents, urging them to take extra care with their children. Experts said children must never be left alone in the vehicle, even if they are under the supervision of a baby sitter or a nanny. “Children, particularly young children, are unable to understand how to regulate their body’s core temperature. As such, exposure to relatively short periods of time in a vehicle when the surrounding temperatures are even as low as 25 degrees centigrade could be fatal,” Mark Pudwell, a training manager at Competence HR told TOO. “If parents step out of a vehicle briefly, ensure that the vehicle is switched off and windows are left open (approximately five centimetres). This allows air to circulate and prevents children from climbing out, though care must be taken when returning to the vehicle and closing the windows as children’s fingers may get hurt,” he added. Pudwell suggested that bystanders, who encounter such situations, should try to open the door first before seeking an ambulance service. “If the vehicle is locked, and there are no signs of the parents in the immediate vicinity, a large rock or suitably robust object should be used to break the window farthest away from the child,” he said. “Do not be tempted to give the child very cold water or ice as this may lead to rapid cooling of the body’s core temperature and result in shock. Give small sips of room temperature-water and cool the skin using wet towels, until the paramedics arrive,” Pudwell said. Learn from mistakes: ROP Reiterating its call, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) has said that children should not be allowed to play inside a vehicle or left in a car with the engine running as the air conditioner can pose threat to their lives. Speaking to the Times of Oman, a senior official of the ROP said that the temperature inside a car is always higher than the outside temperature. “With numerous incidents such as this being reported in the region, parents should be more aware and see that such incidents are avoided,” he said. In July, 2015, two boys aged five and six, died after they locked themselves in a car in Ibri. The parents of the boys were at home when the boys locked themselves in. Also, a four-year-old girl who was allegedly left unattended on a bus owned by a training centre, reportedly died of suffocation in Bid Bid in September this year.



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