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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Do Egyptian Babies Ride in Child Safety Seats?

That's an interesting question that was posed by one reader.  We thought about it and didn't recall ever seeing one.  We recently were given a ride home by a friend in his typical, small, four-passenger car.  There were eight of us riding together that night.  The two-year old boy was cradled on dad's lap.  Linda, mom and three daughters shared the back seat.  I've seen as many as three children plus mom and dad on a motorcycle - but, two of the children were very young, so they didn't take up much room.

I suppose that the bulk of a special child seat would make them impractical for the typical family here.  I did a brief survey during our daily walk this morning and didn't see a single child seat.  I did see two young pre-kindergarden children riding unrestrained in the front passenger seats of cars, though.

I have a few pictures that might help you understand how different the concept of passenger safety is here.  I took these three pictures the other day over the span of exactly two minutes.  If you were a Minnesota State Patrol officer, which one would you stop?

EgyptChildSeat-3-1 EgyptChildSeat-2-1

It is not at all unusual for unloaders and other workers to ride along with their load.   Transporting workers in bulk is also a bit different from U.S. customs.  Almost all of these vehicles are moving at freeway speeds, incidentally.
EgyptCarseat-1-3 EgyptCarseat-2

EgyptCar-1-1 EgyptCarseat-3

Now this is all in spite of Cairo's notorious traffic which one blogger describes in elegant detail in this post.  I'll just contribute this one picture of a traffic circle where the cars smoothly negotiate a variety of routes without any traffic lights.  Surprisingly, accidents are quite rare.

Each time I return from here and find Minnesota drivers and their children carefully strapped into their vehicles, staying in lanes and all moving at about approximately the same speed, I burst out laughing.  "If only they could see Cairo," I think.

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