With the arrival of the holidays comes the opportunity to spend more time with family and friends at some of Newcastle’s most desirable destinations.
But with the festive and new year cheer that this time of year brings, comes an added responsibility of maintaining vigilance around roads, cycleways, footpaths and parks.
City of Newcastle has joined forces once again with the Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation to spread the importance of child pedestrian road safety leading into the school holiday period.
School captains Alice Bradley, 12 (Left) and Bella Lewis, 12, with Peta Winney-Baartz
The It's Holiday Time campaign is the brainchild of Michelle and David McLaughlin, who tragically lost their son Tom at age four to a roadside accident near Macmasters Beach on the Central Coast. Mrs McLaughlin now spends her days proactively partnering with organisations like City of Newcastle to prevent further tragedies from occurring on NSW roads.
"The campaign incorporates brightly coloured 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 signs 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 school classroom of 12-year-old Alice Bradley, a year six 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," 12-year-old Alice said.
"These lessons teach us to be extra cautious and careful."
Newcastle Councillor and Local Traffic Committee member Peta Winney-Baartz knows too well the importance of road safety management across the LGA. Cr Winney-Baartz provides input and advice on several traffic matters that present to the committee once a month.
“In co-operation with local police and state agencies, it is my role on behalf of the City to advocate the best outcomes for the community when it comes to a range of traffic and transport matters.
“These matters are often brought to us by the community. It’s then our duty to review them and ascertain whether there’s a need to implement suitable improvements.
“Any initiative that propagates better outcomes for children and families on our roads is a worthy one, so it’s great to see Michelle and her team at Little Blue Dinosaur championing such a strong cause.”
To read more about Michelle and David’s story, or the Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation, visit http://www.littlebluedinosaur.org