Friday, March 1, 2024

Armidale council backs hands-on road safety campaign

Armidale Regional Council (ARC) has launched a new road safety campaign to encourage carers to hold children’s hands when near or crossing roads.

In partnership with the Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation, the Council launched the safety initiative, ‘Hold my hand’ which advocates for child road safety through community education.

Following the tragic death of four-year-old Tom McLaughlin in 2014 in a pedestrian road accident on the Central Coast, his mother, Michelle McLaughlin, established the Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation.

The McLaughlin family before the accident which robbed them of their precious Tom (far left)

Today, the foundation campaigns for a stronger focus towards road safety and a more educated and safer future for communities across the country.

Council has teamed up with Little Blue Dinosaur to establish ‘Hold my hand’ signs in key locations across the region.

“The Armidale region is a place where community spirit thrives, and the ‘Hold my hand’ initiative embodies that spirit,” said Deputy Mayor, Todd Redwood.

“We are dedicated to fostering a safe and welcoming environment for all children living and visiting our region.

“As a father of two young children, I was disturbed to learn that on average, one Australian child is killed on our roads each week.

“This shocking statistic fueled my passion to ensure this initiative was introduced in our region.”

The Deputy Mayor said the initiative was testament to Armidale Regional Council’s “unwavering dedication to its residents and the enhancement of our region’s quality of life, particularly for youth”.

“This initiative reflects the Council’s commitment to safety, unity, and community empowerment, creating a brighter and safer future for the youth in our region,” he said.

The Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation offers three key child pedestrian road safety tips, allowing communities to become more educated on child safety in their area:

1. Hold your child’s hand (on or near roadways). It’s just as important as wearing a seatbelt in a vehicle.

2. Slow down. The risk of death or serious injury is higher for children, even at low speeds. (In a crash between a car and a pedestrian, there is a 90% chance of death at speeds of 50km/h or greater)

3. Educate you child. Talk to your kids about road safety and the importance of safe behaviour around roadways.

Children aged 10 years and younger have limited cognitive, physical and perceptual limitations around roadways, driveways, and car parks which makes them very vulnerable road users, says Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation CEO, Michelle McLaughlin.

“We should always encourage our children to hold a parent or caregiver’s hand and cross at traffic lights and pedestrian crossings whenever possible, instilling the values of safety and responsibility from a young age.”

“It’s motivating to see local government organisations, just like Armidale Regional Council, take on these important initiatives in an effort towards a safer future for their community. Without their support, it’s difficult to facilitate the vital work that the Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation commits to,” she said.

For more information on the Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation and their ongoing commitment to child road safety, visit their website: www.littlebluedinosaur.org/

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