As the final term of school begins for thousands of school children across New South Wales, the NRMA have launched a new safety campaign focusing on them and the roads.
The Summer Safety campaign is designed to educate kids about the dangers of playing near roads as they become busier after the end of lockdowns across the state.
Working directly with schools, the new strategy hopes to reduce the potential number of deaths on the roads for children under 16. So what is the NRMA planning?
Raising school children’s road safety awareness
Over the past 18 months, the reduction of road traffic due to the pandemic has seen kids play freely in quiet streets whether it be cycling, skateboarding or hanging out with friends.
Yet, a hair-raising statistic showed that 14 kids under the age of 16 have been killed in traffic incidents in 2021 – doubling the average total – and that there was also a 35 per cent increase in serious injuries to children in 2020 compared to 2019.
It’s why the NRMA is working directly with schools to raise awareness about the dangers of the roads launching the Summer Safety competition for school kids to create their posters to raise awareness about dangers in their suburbs.
Spearheading the campaign is the NRMA’s Education Manager Christine McKenna who outlined the necessity to tackle the problem stating that the increasing traffic is a “recipe for high risk for our most vulnerable road users”.
It’s why the competition for kids in Grade 3 to Grade 5 gets to focus on the road issues plaguing their local communities.
Furthermore, the campaign also targets children in kindergarten who are just starting school where they will be colouring in posters and receiving presentations about roadside dangers.
By doing this, Ms McKenna hopes this new approach will get the kids focused and actively aware of road safety saying they “aim to deliver bespoke road education that responds to the new normal”.
Getting kids to be good mates
It’s not just younger children being targeted either as they are launching a campaign for older kids to look after each other when out with friends.
This focus shifts away from direct road safety and aim for kids in Grade 5 to Grade 6 to be “good mates” and work as a team to get the confidence to speak if they think their mates are in danger.
By raising their confidence to voice their opinions, it will put road safety at the forefront of school children’s minds even if they out are skateboarding, cycling or playing footy with mates.
“We hope that it will get kids starting the conversation with their families at the dinner table,” says Ms McKenna.
It is a strategy that could pay dividends especially with the school holidays only a couple of months away and kids getting plenty of time to play whether at home or on holiday.
Indeed, with an expected surge in people going away on domestic holidays this summer, this advice could be crucial going into the long break.
This knowledge is something Ms McKenna hopes children will keep in their minds particularly if going on holiday this summer.
“It will be vital for kids on holiday as they will be playing in unfamiliar territory so there’s even more importance to drive this message home,”she said.
The NRMA’s Summer Safety campaign is set to run in all primary schools and kindergartens throughout the final semester with the competition being run in all areas both in rural and metro areas throughout NSW and the ACT.
If you want to learn more about the NRMA Summer Safety competition, you can register your interest here.
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