More than 8,000 children are safer on our roads thanks to the Southland Seen and Safe road safety programme, which celebrated 10 years last week.
Developed by Plunket Injury Prevention Manager Kathryn Impelmans and supported by organisations such as Road Safety Southland, Wensley’s Cycles and The Warehouse, the Southland Seen and Safe programme aims to reduce fatalities and injuries by talking to families with children under the age of 5 about road safety.
“We are so grateful to these organisations who work with us to ensure our young people are visible on our roads,” says Ms Impelmans.
The programme aims to ensure that children develop positive road safety habits from a young age, including making sure that when they are on or near the road they are visible and as safe as possible.
Children attending their Well Child Tamariki Ora visit with Plunket at 2-3 years are given a voucher for a free cycle helmet and high visibility vest and Plunket nurses talk about how they can stay safe around roads and in driveways.
Rob and Sandra McMurdo, whose Wensley’s Cycles has provided helmets for the programme from the start say they are so proud to be a part of helping the community and working alongside Plunket and other organisations to help keep children safe.
When the voucher is redeemed children are fitted with the appropriate cycle helmet for their age, so they can use it when they are tricycling, biking or scootering.
They also have the child’s car restraint checked by a qualified restraint technician at the same time.
Over 10,000 child restraints have been checked during the past 10 years. Ms Impelmans says they have noticed an increasing number of issues in recent years, including seats that are being installed incorrectly and children being put in the incorrect type of seat for their age, size and development.
Maureen Deuchrass, Road Safety Southland’s Road User Safety Adviser, says that the strength of this programme has been in the partnership of organisations working together for the children.
“We want parents, caregivers and families to be first role models for children when it comes to road safety and this programme helps to make this happen. It’s important for children and families to get road safety messages that are simple, timely and they can understand.”
Representatives from the partner organisations as well as Southland District Mayor Gary Tong, MP Sarah Dowie and local families were among a number of guests who attended a celebration at the Invercargill Plunket rooms on Friday 17 May.