Parents need to share safety chat: NRMA survey

06 January 2018
Father talking to his child at skate park
Father talking to his child at skate park

A holiday safety survey released today by the NRMA has found more than half of the 2,225 primary school children surveyed admitted their parents never had a safety talk with them when they arrived at a holiday destination.

The NRMA conducted the survey over a 12 month period as part of its interactive holiday safety program held in primary schools in the lead up to major holiday seasons.

The key findings of the survey revealed:

  • Almost 60 per cent of students said they thought of road safety the same amount or less when on holiday.

  • Almost 60 per cent said their parents never or only sometimes had a safety talk with them concerning their new surroundings when they arrived at their holiday destination.

  • Three in four students said they have the same amount if not more freedom to play away from their parents whilst on holidays than they normally would at home.

NRMA Road Safety Expert Dimitra Vlahomitros said over the past five years 1,782 children aged under 16 were killed or seriously injured on NSW roads so it was more important than ever for parents to prioritise road safety chats, especially when on holidays.

“These survey results are a reminder to parents not to be complacent whether at home or away,” Ms Vlahomitros said.

“We all look forward to family holidays to relax and spend time together without the usual distraction of regular day-to-day duties.

“However the absence of the familiar home environment, along with new activities, new surroundings and different road and traffic conditions can cause confusion and result in dangerous situations.

“Whether it's a holiday by the beach, in the city or the bush, it is important to talk to your child about the differences in the road and traffic environment.

“Holiday parks and camping grounds can also bring their own set of road safety challenges for children because roads and play areas often combine with more people out walking and riding bikes and scooters where there are cars.” Ms Vlahomitros said primary school aged children are more vulnerable around vehicles because they do not have the skills and judgment that come naturally with age and experience.

“Young children are still developing an understanding of danger and safety. While they are often keen to do things for themselves, an adult must always be responsible for their child in a traffic environment.”

Our top tips for parents heading on holidays this summer:

  • Children should always be supervised by an adult.

  • Where possible make sure children play in a safe area away from roads and cars, i.e. backyard, fenced park/recreational area.

  • Hold hands while crossing the road.

  • Involve children in decision making, such as choosing safe routes to walk or ride their bike on.

  • Always wear a correctly fitted helmet on bikes and scooters.

The NRMA Road Smart Kids App has road safety games for parents and children to play together creating a proactive discussion and embedding safe attitudes and behaviours at an early age. The app is available free to download for Apple and Android devices.