Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke at the launch of The Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation’s Hold My Hand campaign, with (from left) Michelle McLaughlin, Co-Founder and CEO of The Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation; Junee Shire Council Deputy Mayor Matt Austin; Senior Constable Justin Knewstub; Junee VIP In Policing’s Glen Fanning; Old Junee resident and playground designer Anna Lashbrook; Cole Davis, Director of Engineering and Services at Junee Shire Council; and Superintendent Bob Noble.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke joined forces with a smart dinosaur today to promote road safety for children and adults.

Ms Cooke was joined by Michelle McLaughlin, Co-Founder and CEO of The Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation, to promote the organisation’s Hold My Hand program.

“This is such a vital program and it’s fantastic to help spread the message of road safety during the school holidays,” Ms Cooke said.

“The program, which has received support from the NSW Government’s Community Road Safety Fund, will install brightly coloured Hold My Hand signs close to the exits of playgrounds in Junee, Coolamon, Narrandera, West Wyalong and Temora.

“These will serve as a reminder to adults to hold the hands of children under 10 years old and make sure they cross the road safely.

“The NSW Government has worked hard to make sure our children’s safety is top of the priority list and it’s encouraging to note that there have been no child pedestrian fatalities in an active school zone since 2013.

“But we need to keep working hard to ensure that we provide the safest environment outside schools as we possibly can.”

Michelle McLaughlin, Co-Founder and CEO of The Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation, said young children’s ability to understand the danger of roads is still developing and the assistance of adults is vital.

“”Children can be very excitable and unpredictable. They are small, their cognitive functioning isn’t fully developed so they are unable to make safe choices around roadways and traffic,” Ms McLaughlin said.

“These signs are a great reminder for parents and carers to hold a child’s hand as they leave our playgrounds.  We must hold their hands right up until age 10, and supervise them closely until they are 12.”

Ms McLaughlin’s determination to ensure road safety comes from a deeply personal place.

“We lost our precious son, Tom, in the blink of an eye,” Ms McLaughlin said. “We don’t want this to happen to anyone else.  The cost – emotional and financial – is just too high. That’s why the ‘Hold My Hand’ message is so important.”