New campaign targets child road fatalities
Lockdown has seen resourceful kids turn suburban streets into an extension of their backyards, but that ingenuity is now the target of a road safety campaign hoping to reverse a spike in road fatalities among NSW children.
While stay-at-home restrictions have begun lifting across the state and a return to classrooms is around the corner, the bustle of street activities is here to stay, the NRMA says.
That has them worried.
While road fatalities dropped drastically across most other demographics, deaths of children aged five to 16 this year are double the average over the past three.
"The data is pretty grim," NRMA's Christine McKenna said on Tuesday.
"Sadly, already 14 children have lost their lives on our roads this year. That's 14 too many."
Traditional road safety messages don't canvass how to take part in street activities safely, leaving kids at risk.
"Basketball hoops have been erected in laneways and hopscotch is getting another lease of life," Ms McKenna said.
"And they're all great. But we can't have them in places whereby children may be at risk.
"We need to tailor what we're sharing with children in terms of their response to their new normal."
Key messages include how to properly fit a helmet, how to make sure you're visible to drivers when playing on the street and how to pick the best location for games.
The NRMA wants teachers and parents to jump on board with the new initiative, to get the message out as the end of year holidays draw near.
Holiday travel also means many kids will be playing on unfamiliar streets.
"We need to make sure that when kids are taking their bikes and scooters and skateboards to new areas ... that they are also bringing their equipment and their mindfulness with them," Ms McKenna said.
Schools can register for the NRMA Summer safety program through the NRMA website.