‘Slow Down, Kids Around’ these holidays on the Myall Coast

‘Slow Down, Kids Around’ campaigners with the signage in Nabiac.

 

LITTLE Blue Dinosaur Foundation and MidCoast Council will again join forces to promote the importance of road safety, encouraging both residents and visitors to take extra care during the busy holiday period.

The campaign includes increased signage around our parks, beaches and busy recreational spaces featuring the slogans ‘Holiday Time; Slow Down, Kids Around’ and ‘Hold My Hand’.

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The campaign aims to reduce child pedestrian injuries and fatalities across the region, with road trauma still being the most common cause of death for Australian children according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The Myall Coast and other regional holiday destinations are expecting a surge in numbers due to the easing of COVID-19 travel restrictions, resulting in greater child pedestrian activity in our area.

For visiting families and children, an unfamiliar environment and key visual roadway differences pose an increased risk. It’s important for all motorists to stay vigilant on the road as children can react impulsively and are still learning to identify safe crossings and anticipate driver behaviour.

Michelle and David McLaughlin founded Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation to ensure other families don’t experience the tragedy they have, losing their son Tom, 4, in a pedestrian accident in 2014.

They now focus their energy on making school holidays safer for children.

“That is why the Holiday Time campaign is so important.

“It puts the onus on drivers, parents and carers to recognise the potential danger in busy holiday spots and take extra precautions to ensure our kids are kept safe.

“Always talk to your children about road safety, hold their hands until they are 10, and be particularly vigilant when you are on holiday or in new environments,” said Michelle.

Emeritus Professor Ann Williamson, of the UNSW Sydney’s Transport and Road Safety Research Group, is in agreement.

“Both drivers and local councils need to be on high alert for the safety of young pedestrians.

“We are coming up to a busy time of year, and an awareness campaign like that of Little Blue Dinosaur is so important.

“We know from our research that child pedestrians can move unpredictably and their smaller size makes them harder for drivers to see.

“We can do more to ensure that we keep child pedestrians safe,” Ann Williamson said.

Wanting to provide greater support to families in their early days of grief, Michelle is also establishing special Road Trauma Grief Support Packages for families who suffer the unimaginable tragedy of losing a child to road trauma.

She is calling on corporate sponsors and philanthropists to help Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation raise $150,000 to fund the 12-month long care packages, each containing vouchers for child care, cleaning, domestic, and cooking services, filling a gap felt firsthand by Michelle after Tom’s passing.

Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation’s child pedestrian safety campaigns are now supported by 63 local government areas around Australia.

“MidCoast Council is pleased to be working with Little Blue Dinosaur again, making our community safer for our children, particularly around the holiday season,” said Chris Dimarco, Council’s Road Safety Officer.

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