Man re­alises he for­got son in mall after car ac­ci­dent

Dubai Po­lice help re­unite boy with fam­ily

Gulf News - - Front Page - BY ALI AL SHOUK Staff Re­porter

In a shocking in­ci­dent, a father of eight chil­dren re­alised he had left one of his sons be­hind at a lo­cal mall only after he met with an ac­ci­dent.

On a visit to Dubai, the GCC na­tional stepped out after his ve­hi­cle hit a kerb and had a tyre burst.

When he checked on his fam­ily to see if ev­ery­one was al­right, he found his 10-year-old son was miss­ing. The ac­ci­dent hap­pened on the ser­vice road of Shaikh Mo­ham­mad Bin Zayed Road in front of the Dubai Po­lice Gen­eral Depart­ment of Trans­port and Res­cue of­fice. The boy was re­united with the fam­ily after both the father and the son sought help from Dubai Po­lice.

Mean­while, Dubai Po­lice have warned par­ents against leav­ing their chil­dren in­side locked cars after record­ing two in­ci­dents in two days. The first in­ci­dent hap­pened in Al Warqa 1 area where a boy had locked him­self in­side a car after the father left the key in­side. The boy was res­cued by the Dubai Po­lice.

The next day, the po­lice res­cued an­other child who was for­got­ten by his par­ents in­side the car.

‘Had I stayed away a minute longer, my 18-mon­thold son would have suf­fo­cated to death — alone — in­side my car.”

Wa­ja­hat Ali, a father of four, shared this re­al­i­sa­tion after read­ing in Gulf News the story of a six-year-old Emi­rati girl who died after be­ing for­got­ten in their fam­ily car for six hours on Septem­ber 4.

The story brought back a painful ex­pe­ri­ence to Ali — some­thing he would never wish to hap­pen to any par­ent.

Brac­ing for a po­ten­tial pub­lic back­lash, Ali de­cided to speak up about the night he al­most lost his son with the hope that no child would be left be­hind in a car ever again.

One July night at around 9pm, Ali, 33, left his fam­ily home in Ras Al Khaimah to visit his garage just 5km away to over­see the daily oper­a­tions and speak to his brother. With him was 18-month-old Mo­ham­mad Saaim Wa­ja­hat, Ali’s youngest child and se­cond son.

“I left my son in the car be­cause I ex­pected I would get back in prob­a­bly five min­utes. I thought it’s okay to leave him for a few min­utes if the air­con­di­tion­ing is switched on,” the ad­min­is­tra­tion man­ager from Pak­istan told Gulf News.

Ali was con­fi­dent Mo­ham­mad would be all right. He was stand­ing four me­tres from the car, after all. “I would oc­ca­sion­ally glance at my car to see if my son was okay in­side. The win­dows were closed and I could see him from where I was — mov­ing back and forth be­tween the two front seats.”

Un­for­tu­nately, the con­ver­sa­tion took longer than ex­pected, Ali said, un­sure if it was 15 min­utes or longer.

So just as he was walk­ing to his car, Ali no­ticed some­thing amiss.

“It was like a thun­der­storm when I opened the door and saw my son. His body was burn­ing hot. He ap­par­ently had switched the AC off and I didn’t know. He usu­ally does this when we drive.”

Chil­dren’s bod­ies heat up three to five times faster than adults’ be­cause their body mass is smaller and their ther­moreg­u­la­tory sys­tem is not yet ma­ture.

Ali said he im­me­di­ately turned on the AC and gave his son some wa­ter to cool down his body. “I hugged him and held him in my arms as I was thank­ing Al­lah Almighty that I didn’t stay away a minute longer. What if I was not around and took a few more min­utes to come back?”

“That was like a night­mare for me. I thought that he was just play­ing that’s why he was mov­ing back and forth on the

two front seats. But on hind­sight, I re­alised he was try­ing to call me.”

Death could oc­cur within min­utes for chil­dren in­side hot cars. Ali was for­tu­nate that the in­ci­dent didn’t hap­pen dur­ing

the day when car in­te­ri­ors could feel like an oven within min­utes. “I learnt the [big­gest] les­son of my life. I would urge par­ents to please be very care­ful and never leave your chil­dren alone in the car.”

Courtesy: Wa­ja­hat Ali

Wa­ja­hat Ali speaks about a painful ex­pe­ri­ence when his 18-month-old son al­most died after he left him in­side the car with AC on in July. His son ap­par­ently switched the AC off.

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