According to a report released by the Hamad Trauma Center’s (HTC) Hamad Injury Prevention Program (HIPP), there was no increase in the number of patients admitted to the HTC as a result of injuries sustained in the Sealine area during the last (2018/19) camping season, when compared to the previous season.
This was the first time since 2011 there was no year-on-year increase, indicating that the combined efforts to promote safe recreational practices by multisector stakeholders across Qatar may be having a positive effect.
“Last year was the first camping season, since 2011, that the HTC has not had to provide care to more patients injured in the Sealine area and the HIPP is encouraging more families, parents, and off-road enthusiasts to use their recommended practices while enjoying recreational activities at Sealine,” said Dr. Hassan Al Thani, Head of the HTC.
Throughout the 2018/19 camping season, the HTC admitted an average of 10 severely injured patients a month as a result of incidents in the Sealine area, treating a total of 50 critically injured patients throughout the season.
“Let this be the start of a consistent reduction in the number of off-road enthusiasts unnecessarily getting injured while participating in activities in the Sealine area. We hope that the trend in recent years for increasing numbers of patients being injured in the Sealine area has reached a peak and that we will now see this number begin to decline,” added Dr. Al Thani.
There was also no significant increase in the total number of patients requiring the services of two other key HMC services: the Ambulance Service and Al Wakra Emergency Department.
The Ambulance Service was called almost 250 times per month during the 2018/19 camping season to attend to those injured in Sealine, with half of those calls received on Fridays. Al Wakra Hospital’s Emergency Department admitted between 35 and 45 ATV injuries every month, with between 8 to 10 of them being children younger than 15 years old.
“We are encouraging all off-road enthusiasts to use proven and tested equipment to be safer as they enjoy their time in Sealine. This includes helmets, gloves, shoes, and goggles for ATV users and ensuring that their off-road vehicles have an internal roll bar, seatbelts for all passengers, and proper tires. There are also many professional training programs in Qatar that will teach the correct off-road driving practices. We encourage people to enroll in these before embarking on off-road activities,” said Dr. Rafael Consunji, Director of HIPP.
HIPP offers the following recommendations for safety of all off-road enthusiasts:
- Do not allow young children to drive ATV’s or other off-road vehicles.
- ATVs are not designed to be used for transporting passengers and control of the vehicle is made more difficult with a passenger on board.
- All ATV drivers must be fully clothed, wearing long pants, goggles, gloves, boots, and using a helmet every time they operate an ATV.
- All four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles used for off-road activities must have a roll bar to protect the passenger compartment, operate with headlights on, even in the daytime, and use tires at the proper inflation pressure.
- All passengers of off-road vehicles must use a seatbelt at all times.
- Take advantage of local training or free on-line courses for off-road driving and ATV use before you start.