Published on 05 May 2024

Protecting kids on our roads

Onkaparinga Mayor Moira Were is urging the community to drive so others survive ahead of National Road Safety Week (5–12 May), emphasising the need to protect our most vulnerable road users – children.

“Road trauma is the leading cause of death for children aged one to 14 in Australia, so everyone has a responsibility to keep our future generations safe on our roads,” she said.

“While there has been significant recent investment in road safety projects in Onkaparinga – including upgrades to a number of school crossings – infrastructure improvements alone won’t eliminate child pedestrian fatalities.

“That’s why education and addressing the behaviour of road users is also vital in protecting the children who live, play and go to school within our city.”

The council has partnered with Little Blue Dinsoaur Foundation (LBDF) for the first time in 2024 to help inform parents, caregivers and drivers on how to keep children safe around roads.

The not-for-profit organisation has a vision of zero child pedestrian fatalities, and it was established by Michelle McLaughlin in memory of her son, Tom, who was tragically killed in a pedestrian motor vehicle accident during a family holiday in 2014 when he was just four years old.

“LBDF informs and champions road safety research, and their studies suggest child pedestrian fatalities can be avoided if direct supervision – especially involving physical contact – is maintained,” Mayor Were said.

“With children having just returned to school and kindergarten for Term 2, it’s a timely reminder to hold children’s hands around roadways and driveways, and to encourage older children to reduce distractions, pay attention to their surroundings and, where possible, cross at pedestrian crossings or traffic lights.”

The partnership between the council and LBDF – the first in metropolitan Adelaide – will see the not-for-profit’s distinctive and colourful “Hold my Hand” signage (pictured) installed in key locations in Onkaparinga later this year.

The council will also share information and LBDF awareness campaign messaging to parents and the wider community, including via social media and to schools for possible inclusion in their newsletters.

You can also help to protect children and all road users by making National Road Safety Week’s pledge to drive so others survive.

By making the pledge you’ll be committing to:

  • drive as if your loved ones are on the road ahead
  • removing all distractions and never using your mobile phone while driving
  • not putting other people at risk by speeding, driving while tired or under the influence of alcohol/drugs
  • and protecting all vulnerable road users, especially those whose job places them in harm’s way, by slowing down and giving them the space they need to be safe.

“If every one of us in Onkaparinga made this pledge, we’d be going a long way towards reducing trauma on our roads and making sure everybody gets home safely,” Mayor Were said.

About Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation

Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation has been working on community education and effective road safety initiatives (including distinctive signage around playgrounds and busy roads) since 2014. Campaigns and signage are now in place in 75 local government areas across the country, with a recent launch in WA via signage in the Town of Cambridge LGA. Find out more about The Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation.

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Michelle McLaughlin holds a colourful sign that reads 'Hold my Hand' alongside a tree-lined road with a car in the background.