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Abu Dhabi Police warn against using smart balance wheel after death.

Abu Dhabi/Dubai: Abu Dhabi Police on Monday urged parents to ensure their children use smart balance wheels only in designated areas and use protective gears while doing so following the death of an Emirati child.

The victim, a six-year-old Emirati identified as S.A., was run over by a car today (Monday) in Abu Dhabi while travelling around on a smart balance wheel, Gulf News has learnt. The balance wheel, also known as hoverboard, resembles a skateboard or a mini Segway without a handle.

Colonel Jamal Salem Al Ameri, Chief of the Public Relations Section at the Abu Dhabi Traffic and Patrols Directorate, said using smart balance wheels as a tool of entertainment in public areas, especially in roads and even service roads, may result in accidents.

Using smart balance wheels has become increasingly popular in the UAE in recent months, especially among the younger population who use it in indoor and even public areas.

The battery-powered board moves according to the user's weight distribution. To move forward, for example, the user only needs to lean forward. To slow down, stop or move backwards, the user has to lean back. The same principle applies when the user wants to turn left or right.

Col Al Ameri urged parents to make sure that their children only use their balance wheels in designated areas such as parks. Various malls in the capital and in Dubai have banned these smart balance wheels on their premises.

Col Al Ameri also said that children must use protective gear such as helmets, knee, elbow and wrist pads to ensure maximum safety.

In Dubai, an Indian mother sought to warn other parents about keeping their children protected while using smart balance wheels following her son's accident on Saturday.

Aisha, a businesswoman, did not intend to buy a smart balance wheel for her 11-year-old son but gave in due to his insistence. She allowed him to try it out first in a shop to see how it works.

"He took a right turn but the machine turned faster than he had anticipated so he fell on his right side," Aisha told Gulf News.

Aisha said she is not blaming the machine itself but is only urging parents to take the necessary precautions for their children should they decide to buy it for them.

"He has a soft tissue injury on his right forearm. He has had a sling since Saturday. Alhamdulillah he did not have a serious injury; no fractures or anything," Aisha added.

Aisha said she took her son to a hospital in Al Garhoud where a nurse who tended to her son's injury said they receive as many as 14 similar cases each day, including a child who had two broken ribs after falling from a smart balance wheel. Gulf News tried to verify this but could not get a confirmation at the time of going to press.

Another Dubai resident, Mohammad Khateeb, had an accident using a smart balance wheel a month ago. Khateeb said he took the balance wheel to office for work purposes but ended in the hospital hours later.

"When I stepped on it, my feet were not positioned correctly. So, the side where the right foot was, started turning right while the left side started turning in the other direction. I fell on my back and tried to break the fall using my hand. My hand was fractured and I was off work for three weeks," the Jordanian who works in advertising said.

Khateeb agreed that users should ensure the safe use of these boards. He also emphasised that people should keep to their normal activities as physical activities such as walking are now being neglected by board users.

- Maisoon Mubarak is a trainee at Gulf News.

- with additional inputs from Aghaddir Ali, Staff Reporter

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Oct 13, 2015
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