School holidays are a time for family and friends to focus on socialising, travel and time together.
However, it also means maintaining greater vigilance when walking near, or driving on, Newcastle’s busy roads.
That’s the message Newcastle council is spreading this summer as part of a holiday road safety and awareness campaign targeted at holiday makers and the local community.
The It’s Holiday Time campaign is the brainchild of Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation chief executive Michelle McLaughlin, who tragically lost her son, Tom, at the age four to a roadside accident on the Central Coast.
Mrs McLaughlin now spends her days proactively pushing to prevent further tragedies from occurring on NSW roads.
“The It’s Holiday Time campaign incorporates brightly coloured billboard signage with simple messaging to instruct and remind drivers to slow down, and for children and families to remain alert and attentive,” Mrs McLaughlin said.
“The boards are positioned in highly visible public spaces, such as beaches and parks, so that we can best maximise our road safety message.
“Holiday destinations are most often a new and unfamiliar environment for children and their families, and it’s important that parents have a conversation with their children and go through how they’re expected to behave when they’re in this new environment.”
These conversations are already well and truly being had around the family dinner table and in the classroom of 11-year-old Alice Bradley, a year-five student at Mayfield West Demonstration School.
As part of her school’s PDHPE curriculum, students at Mayfield West Demonstration School learn necessary skills, attitudes and behaviours needed to stay safe as pedestrians, passengers and wheelchair users.
“Holidays are always the best time of the year, but when they come around we need to take extra care when crossing roads and watching for cars,” Alice said.
“These lessons teach us to be extra cautious and careful.”
Apart from Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Cessnock and Port Stephens councils have also supported the campaign.
Visit littlebluedinosaur.org for more information on the foundation.