Baby on Board


One of the issues that really riles me up here in Saudi Arabia is the lack of safety concerns in many areas of life. And when it concerns children, I get especially worked up. This photo is not an uncommon scenario in this country. Dad is driving the car. Mom is sitting in the front passenger seat and there is a maid seated in the back seat. And Baby? Well, Baby is happily sitting on Dad’s lap as he drives! I have also seen toddlers of two or three years seated on Dad’s lap, kids sitting on Mom’s lap in the front seat (women cannot drive here), eight-year-old BOYS driving huge SUVs, as well as children hanging out the windows or bopping around all over inside cars as they speed along the roads. Most Saudis NEVER use seatbelts at all, much less car seats for small children – NEVER! I find it sad and maddening that a society that so cherishes its children don’t take preventative measures to keep their children safe in a country that likely ranks near the top of the list in the world for car accidents, and instead rely solely on God’s will to protect them, which obviously doesn’t always work.

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About SusieOfArabia

American woman now living in hubby's homeland of Saudi Arabia
This entry was posted in contradictions, Culture, Life, Middle East, Odd or Unusual, Photo, Saudi Arabia and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Baby on Board

  1. aylarox says:

    yeah, this is a sad reality. as far as i know, there is a law about seat belts in Saudi but i’m not sure. I’m just basing this on experience because whenever we’re in the car and we pass a checkpoint or car inspection along the road, my dad or mom would always instruct as to wear the seat belts whenever one of them notices we’ve forgotten to put it on. I also remember few instances where a policeman kindly reminded us to wear seat belts during checkpoints. He always say that not wearing seat belts is “haram” (forbidden) or “kathir mushkilah” (literally means too many problems but implies that it’s too much of a problem.)

  2. Tony says:

    Interesting. Good luck with everything!

  3. marie says:

    I remember when it was like that here, not 30 years ago.We used to pile up in the back of dad’s truck, or snooze on the back of the backseat.The country is just a little behind, it wil come, no need to think USA is better,there’s jsut been cars around longer.

    • No one is saying that the USA is better – we are just wishing that this country would take safety issues more seriously. All cars nowadays are equipped with seatbelts. People and children are dying in this country every day because they don’t wear their seatbelts or put babies safely in carseats. When I was a little girl, there were no seatbelts yet either, but I wear mine every time I am in a car. If Saudi parents would make it a priority to teach their children to buckle up, then it would just become habit and everyone would be safer.

  4. Unbelievable!! GET THE CHILD SAFELY IN THE BACK SEAT IN AN APPROVED, SECURE CHILD’S CAR SAFETY SEAT!!
    One could probably be fined or arrested for something like that here in Minnesota!

  5. Judy says:

    Such a shame to put children at risk. I wonder how many are killed or injured because of this practice.

  6. Geogypsy says:

    So many contradictions. Must be a lot of death and injury in car accidents.

  7. Hello Susie,

    I really enjoyed your photos plus some information regarding life in Jeddah. My husband has a job offer in Jeddah and I was trying to get an idea of what to expect in case he were to accept the offer.( I lived there in 1980’s) We are currently in Dubai. Do you enjoy life in Jeddah? My children are young adults and my husband is concerned that I may get terribly bored? What do ladies do in Jeddah? I too enjoy photography and have posted some lovely photos of the Emirates and Oman on Facebook under Cecilia Quiroga. Take a look if you like-Cecilia

  8. Rachel says:

    Not to mention that cigarette is inches from the kid’s face and he’s breathing all that smoke in. It would be interesting to see some cancer statistics.

  9. Jacob says:

    This is so interesting, and like, you say, maddening! It makes no sense. Is it a macho thing? Or, are they really checking to see if Allah will protect them?

    Methinks they ought to turn over control of the country to the women! I think a lot of things would change – for the better!

    And a very Merry Christmas to you!

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