THE tragic death of four-year-old Tom McLaughlin in 2014 is the event behind a road safety campaign which has come to Newcastle these school holidays.
In Newcastle and Lake Macquarie signs have been erected in areas where there is likely to be an increased number of children and vehicles.
Nobbys Beach, Newcastle Beach, King Edward Park, Bar Beach, Dixon Park, John Parade, Merewether, and Merewether Baths along with Speers Point Park and sections of Warners Bay have been recognised as potentially hazardous locations; signs have been erected to remind drivers to go slow for kids.
Michelle and David McLaughlin lost their son Tom after a motor-vehicle and pedestrian accident while on a family holiday at Macmasters Beach, Sydney, in January 2014. The couple have since channelled their grief by starting the Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation (LBDF).
The foundation is dedicated to the prevention of roadside child pedestrian accidents through community education and awareness.
“Children are in a highly excitable state on holidays and with the population spike in these areas during holiday periods, particularly over summer, the risk of accidents is increased. It is an unusually dangerous time for children on roads,” Mrs McLaughlin said.
“I want to stress to the community, parents and carers that we must hold our children’s hands when on or near roadways until the age of ten, and closely supervise children until at least 12 because they can’t always identify safe places to cross the road and act inconsistently in the traffic environment.”
“We are so pleased that Lake Macquarie and Newcastle city councils are joining the LBDF this year to make coastal holidays safer for our children.”
Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the city welcomed the signage.
“The holidays are an exciting time for families, but it is also a great opportunity to be vigilant and go over road safety with our kids, especially if we are spending the holidays in new environments,” Cr Nelmes said.
The foundation has recently included a Victorian council to pilot its campaign inter-state, with the Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation hoping to extend the ‘Holiday Time- Slow Down Kids Around’ campaign nationally.
For more information about the foundation visit: littlebluedinosaur.org