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Child Deaths Marked to Launch Safekids

September 30, 2005

Child Deaths Marked to Launch Safekids Campaign

Wreaths commemorating the lives of children killed as pedestrians in New Zealand will be presented to mayors at special launches to mark the start of the national Safekids Campaign on Friday October 14.

The Campaign aims to raise awareness of the issue of child pedestrian injury, and its prevention. During launch events in nine communities mayors will be presented with the wreaths, and black cards that outline New Zealand’s child pedestrian injury problem. Yellow cards with suggestions on ways councils can help reduce injuries will also be presented.

Safekids Campaign national co-ordinator Joy Gunn says the presentation of the wreaths is designed to hit home how tragic and yet preventable deaths to child pedestrians are – as well as provide communities with the opportunity to get councils involved in developing policies and practices which acknowledge the value of children.

“Different communities have different issues when it comes to child pedestrian injury. For some the reduction of speed limits around schools is a priority, for others congestion and parking problems around schools are issues. Others will concentrate on improving the design of roads and placement of pedestrian crossings.”

Annually, on average, 14 child pedestrians aged under 15 years are killed in New Zealand in road traffic crashes, on driveways and other private land such as farms. More than 240 child pedestrians are hospitalised every year.
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“This year’s campaign will focus on ways we, as adults, can help reduce child pedestrian injury; as drivers, parents, school representatives and local government employees and politicians. Police and Land Transport are doing really well at educating children about pedestrian safety – but we need to keep educating adults.”

Programmes such as school travel plans, walking buses; and engineering designs which recognise children’s needs as road users are all positive initiatives which local councils and communities can utilise to reduce injury and death.

Prevention of childhood falls is the other area of focus for the Campaign which is co-ordinated by Safekids New Zealand (the child safety service of Starship Children’s Health) with the support of the Ministry of Health, ACC, Land Transport New Zealand, the New Zealand Police, Plunket, Rural Women, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, Age Concern and the Injury Prevention Network of Aotearoa New Zealand.

ENDS

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