Bass Coast,

Children out of school, not out of mind

Bass Coast Shire Council and the Victoria Police are urging community members and parents to continue to be safe when driving around popular areas for visitors and families in Bass Coast as the summer holiday period begins.

Officer in charge of the Bass Coast Highway Patrol in Wonthaggi, Sergeant Jason Hullick, said while school zones may not be in use over the holiday, drivers need to keep an eye out for children crossing roads in other areas, such as near parks, beaches and shopping centres.

“As children are often very small, parked cars can completely obscure them from the view of drivers,” Sgt Hullick said.

“Coupled with children’s limited ability to identify danger, this can create a very hazardous situation.”

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield, said drivers and pedestrians need to stay switched and maintain a focus on road safety whilst on holiday.

“School holidays make up several months of the year, and during these times, the playground shifts and there are more children around the streets during the daytime,” Cr Rothfield said.

“Children also tend to be very excited during their holidays, but are also in unfamiliar areas, and with the population spike in Bass Coast during summer, the risk of accidents does increase.

“Roads are often very different to children's home environments, and they can lack the usual visual cues like gutters and footpaths that may help a child to recognise it as a road, meaning they can step off the footpath and onto a road without even realising.”

It is critical to talk to your children and remind them to be even more vigilant with their road safety when on holiday.

Follow the safe road crossing procedure – STOP, LOOK, LISTEN and THINK.

  • STOP one step back from the kerb or shoulder of the road if there is no footpath.
  • LOOK in all directions for approaching traffic.
  • LISTEN in all directions for approaching traffic.
  • THINK about whether it is safe to cross the road – when the road is clear or all traffic has stopped.

This information is particularly relevant to young people learning to cross roads, but it’s also a useful reminder to everyone, particularly to those who may be distracted when crossing the road.