Early years educators across the country are being urged to take part in a Beep Beep! Day by Brake, the road safety charity. The day is supported by Thrifty Car Rental and helps to teach children road safety basics and remind parents and drivers of their responsibility to help protect children when driving.
Each week, on average, seven children under the age of ten are injured on NZ roads . Beep Beep! Days provide an opportunity to engage children, parents and the community in road safety messages, helping to save young lives and reduce injuries.
Anyone working with two to seven year-old children can hold a Beep Beep! Day. The day involves running creative, educational activities using guidance and resources from Brake, such as creating a poster of hand prints to remind children and parents to hold hands, playing the 'Belt up' game to learn about child seats, singing road safety songs and baking traffic light biscuits. The activities teach young children the road safety basics and encourage parents to consider the vital steps they need to take to keep their family safe. Children taking part can also raise funds in support of Brake's work campaigning for safer roads and supporting bereaved and injured crash victims.
Brake and Thrifty launched the project at ELCM Alfriston in Auckland by running a Beep Beep! Day with children from the centre (see photos attached).
Early years educators are encouraged to sign up to the first national Beep Beep! Day, which will take place on Wednesday 9 May 2018 during Road Safety Week, or to hold Beep Beep! on another day of their choice. Resources are provided to help them to run activities.
The national day in May will link to this year's Road Safety Week theme by focusing on the importance of using appropriate child seats for all children under 148cm tall, and reminding parents and the wider community to look out for young children when on the road.
Caroline Perry, Brake's NZ director said: "Organising a Beep Beep! Day is a fun, simple way to teach young children the road safety basics, plus it's great for persuading parents and everyone in the area that protecting children on roads is vital. Brake provides resources and activity plans to help you run a great Beep Beep! Day and get the road safety message out. We're calling on anyone who works with two to seven year-olds to register to be part of this life-saving initiative."
Graham Ward, Acting General Manager of Thrifty Car Rental New Zealand said: "Being safe on the roads is extremely important to Thrifty and with increases in the population and more vehicles on the road, on-going road safety education and awareness is critical. Supporting Brake and the work they do in raising road safety awareness is a good fit for us," he said. "If we can pass on road safety messages to our customers, staff and their families, it's another way of helping educate people and reduce crashes and road deaths."
Archana Singh, Manager at ELCM Alfriston said: "It's vital that our children and parents regularly hear road safety messages, and Beep Beep! Days offer a fun way to communicate some of those messages. Our centre is near a busy road so we also need people in our community to look out for children and help protect them on roads, so that they can walk and cycle to our centre safely. We're delighted to be hosting the launch of Beep Beep! Days and encourage other educators to sign up and run your own day."
Advice for parents
When your child starts to walk with you around your community, talk to them about how they must always hold your hand. Hold hands until your child is at least eight, or longer depending on their development.
Make sure they understand the meaning of stop, traffic, danger, look, listen, walk don't run, and other key words. Encourage your child's school or kindergarten to teach road safety through a Beep Beep! Day. Your child's learning will be more effective if they are taught about road safety at school as well as at home.
 Table 5, Section 2: Crashes and casualties, Motor vehicle crashes in New Zealand for 2016, Ministry of Transport, 2017