15 Dec The lasting legacy of a 4 year old called Tom
It is this time of year where thousands of Australian families start planning their summer break and holiday trips.
This is a crucial time of year to talk about road safety and keeping our children safe around roadways. During the summer months, school zones are not operating and there are many more children in our communities. This year more than ever, our beach hamlets and holiday destinations will see an unprecedented increase in visitors due to overseas travel restrictions caused by COVID-19 making our important road safety messages more important than ever.
The Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation was established by Michelle and David McLaughlin in memory of their four-year-old son Tom, who tragically died in a pedestrian road accident while on a family holiday in 2014.
Little Blue Dinosaur’s “It’s Holiday Time: Slow Down, Kids Around” signage campaign launches every December across 65 councils in four states (and counting). The campaign was established in an effort to protect very vulnerable child pedestrians during the holiday period. The campaign is endorsed and supported by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, Little Blue Dinosaur Ambassador, and Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher MP and Fiona Martin, Federal Member for Reid.
The campaign targets all road users including; child pedestrians, accompanying adult pedestrian carers and drivers. It acknowledges that holidaying road users may not be fully aware of the impact of “differing” roadway landscapes of their holiday destination. The campaign also focuses on local drivers to be more diligent and aware of the increased number of children on our roads during this time. Many cities and communities also offer summer recreational activities for children in playgrounds, libraries and museums etc. which significantly increases the foot traffic in these areas.
Busy holiday hotspots – with roads, shops, parks and beaches all close together – are exactly the kinds of places our message is most needed. Children under 10 years of age have physical, perceptual and cognitive limitations around roadways which when coupled with the excitement of being on holiday, increases the risk factors of being involved in road trauma. It is also a new environment for children where the ‘’holiday” roadway environments can look different (lack kerb, gutter, line markings, safe pedestrian crossings or recognisable pathways) to what children are used to seeing and they may not therefore recognise them as a roadway. Current data from the Australian Institute of Health and welfare indicates that the most common cause of death of children aged 1-14 years is ‘land transport accidents’ aka road trauma. Every parent and carer should be well aware of this fact!
This year, Michelle has written and published a beautiful children’s road safety book called ‘Tom’s Holiday’ which has added another important resource in our campaign to help raise awareness of the importance of road safety for children especially at holiday times. The book is helpful for the whole family!
You can help make drivers more aware of kids during the school holidays by purchasing items such as Tom’s Holiday ($10) Bin Stickers or Kids Safety Vests at