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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Campaign hoping to reduce child pedestrian fatalities

Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation and Cessnock City Council are partnering up yet again to reduce child pedestrian injuries and fatalities across the LGA (local government area).

Motorists will notice the “Holiday Time; Slow Down, Kids Around” signage erected around the LGA at parks and other busy recreational locations, urging people to lessen their speed and take extra care on roads during the next couple of months.

Cessnock City mayor Bob Pynsent said school holiday periods created a surge in the number of children using local streets and paths.

“Holiday Time; Slow Down, Kids Around is a highly-visible and timely reminder about the importance of road safety, for both residents and visitors to be more aware of the increase in pedestrian activity in our area,” he added.

“With more youngsters around, particularly in our playgrounds and parks, it’s really crucial for all motorists to stay vigilant on the road.

“Kids can react impulsively and forget about road safety.

“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 additional precautions.”

The Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation was established by Michelle and David McLaughlin in memory of their four-year-old son Tom, who tragically died in a pedestrian road accident while on a Central Coast family vacation in 2014.

The duo now channels their energy into making school holidays safer for children around the country.

“Sadly, BITRE data reveals that since January 2014 until August 2020, 391 children, including Tom, have lost their lives to road trauma,” Mrs McLaughlin said.

“Further, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare indicates the most common cause of death of children aged 1-14 years is road trauma.

“Holiday destinations will be even busier this year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

“For children and their families, these environments are most often new and unfamiliar with key visual roadway differences, including lack of kerbs/guttering, no line markings or footpaths.

“We lost our precious son, Tom, in the blink of an eye.

“We don’t want this to happen to anyone else – the cost is just too high.

“That’s why the Holiday Time, Slow Down, Kids Around message is so important.”

Mrs McLaughlin said Little Blue Dinosaur was excited to be working with Cessnock City.

The initiative is now supported by 65 councils across Australia.

She has also penned a beautiful book around Child Pedestrian Road Safety called Tom’s Holiday.

The colourful offering was especially written and designed for children, parents and their carers to provide detailed lifesaving road safety tips and education particularly around busy holiday periods.

For further information about Tom’s Holiday visit the Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation website.