Primary students at both Doha College campuses were educated on road safety as part of an ongoing initiative by the school to raise awareness, prevent accidents and ultimately save lives.

The Road Safety Awareness Day incorporated activities that young children could relate to with a key focus on road safety, seat belts and car seats. The children were taught the UK road safety scheme called the Green Cross Code. Children practised crossing the road correctly with the security guards acting as lollipop men, they competed in a poster awareness competition and also attended a school assembly where their knowledge was put to the test. Each child was also weighed and measured for a car seat or booster seat. This individual information will be sent home to parents, recommending the appropriate seat for their child.

Head of Primary, Christine Walker, said:

The Road Safety Awareness Day is a very significant initiative for us. Keeping the children safer by engaging and educating them and their families, drivers and carers will ensure that a very important message is received and reinforced by all. Our school nurse and facilities manager have organised a number of information sharing and learning opportunities for children and their parents.’

This programme isn’t only about educating the children, but also aims to educate the parents as well. A presentation held by School Nurse, Cherry Auld and Health and Safety Manager Nic Milne, discussed how to stay safe whilst on the roads. Nic discussed the main safety issues that are faced at Doha College such as the drop off zones, double parking, children running across the roads and the use of mobile phones whilst driving around the school.

Health and Safety Manager, Nic Milne, said:

We have created this Road Safety Awareness Day as a response to parent demand. We want to make a difference to children’s lives and the best way to do this is to reach out to people through education. There are various initiatives within Qatar that aim to educate the public on the dangers of driving and this is complementing those schemes. For us, this day is the start of a programme we wish to implement throughout 2015 and beyond and it should become a core segment of our educational offering.’

During the presentation, Nic and Cherry showed the parents some shocking advertisements that aired in the United Kingdom over the past ten years. Although the content wasn’t graphically disturbing, it definitely pulled on the heart strings and unexpected gasps were heard throughout the audience. In addition, Cherry shared some real life case studies of children she has treated over the years which also made the significance of this initiative profound for the parents. Nurse Cherry comes from a background in Paediatric Intensive Care. As a result she has seen some very disturbing sights. She said:

I have witnessed, too many times, the devastation road traffic accidents cause. The loss of a child due to something that could have been prevented brings with it unimaginable pain. The road safety day was a huge success in teaching our Doha College children the important messages they need to learn when around cars. Seatbelt safety and how to cross the road carefully were two of our core teaching goals on the day. I am confident our children left school knowing how to behave in and around cars. However, children are mirror images of the adults that surround them. Nic and I feel passionate about getting the message across to as many adults as possible in all areas of our DC community and therefore plan to repeat the adult road safety workshop again in January.’

Also in attendance was Zamzam Al Haddad from Kulluna, a health and safety awareness campaign set up by Hamad Medical Corporation. He said:

Through our award winning Car Passenger Safety Technician programme (CPST), we aim to increase awareness and education in the community improve on the importance of proper use and selection of child car seats in keeping our children safe on the road.’

The Road Safety Day was an extreme success for everyone involved and the children are excited and keen to showcase what they have learnt. The parents also gave enthusiastic feedback and would like this initiative to be repeated in the New Year. One parent left the workshop saying she was heading straight to the shops to buy her daughter the correct car seat. Another child’s life potentially saved!