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Sesame Street's Elmo and Grover keeping kids safe in Australian road safety campaign

Sesame Workshop, Kidsafe, TAC, RACV and Holden unite to launch major road safety initiative

Pedestrian and driveway incidents, major causes of serious injury and death in young children, will be targeted in a new major road safety campaign as part of the UN's Decade of Action for Road Safety. Spearheaded by Sesame Street's Elmo and Grover, the campaign will be launched this morning at Federation Square in Melbourne.

In the three year period from 2006-2008, there were 6 deaths and 430 seriously injured pedestrians aged 0-14 years in Victoria. A further 14 children under six years of age were killed and 73 were seriously injured as a result of a driveway run over between January 2000 and September 2012.

The campaign, developed by partners Sesame Workshop (the nonprofit educational organisation behind Sesame Street), Kidsafe, the TAC, RACV and Holden, will initially be delivered to Family Day Care Services throughout Victoria, with a view to a national roll out.

Supported by a Community Service Announcement on television and social networks, the aim of the project is to educate children, parents, and teachers on the importance of simple road safety practices by harnessing the power of the Sesame Street characters.

The Victorian Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development, the Hon Wendy Lovell, with the help of Grover, Elmo and 20 children from the QV Early Learning Centre, will use the big screen at Federation Square this morning to launch the community service announcement and educational material.

Minister Lovell said, “The innovative and unique campaign led by Grover, a Road Safety Ambassador as part of the UN's Decade of Action for Road Safety, and the lovable monster Elmo, not only relates to children but also to many parents who have grown up with Sesame Street over the past forty three years." 

Robert Caulfield, President of Kidsafe Victoria, said, "A recent coroner's report in Victoria has reinforced the need for awareness on driveway run overs and pedestrian safety among children as a high priority."

Kidsafe is proud to be co-coordinating the campaign with support from credible and highly experienced early childhood experts to help save lives and prevent injuries in driveways and on the roads.

Sesame Workshop's Senior Vice-President of International Projects, Robert Knezevic says, "Sesame Workshop is the single largest informal educator of children in the world and has a long history of creating educational media and public service campaigns. By combining the beloved Muppet characters, who are immediately recognisable as symbols for childhood learning, and the expertise of local partners, this road safety program has been developed specifically for the needs of young Australian road users."

The program's messages will be delivered to children via a classroom based storybook entitled 'Elmo Stays Safe. How Furry Little Monsters - and Children - Play Safely' with supporting activity cards, posters and stickers, together with downloadable activity sheets.

The 'Elmo Stays Safe. How Furry Little Monsters - and Children - Play Safely'' storybook follows the journey of Elmo and his Mum as they make their way safely to the playground. 

Specifically, it demonstrates the importance of:

-       Safe pedestrian practices such as holding an adult's hand while crossing the road

-       Playing in safe areas, and treating driveways and car parks like the road

-       Safe car travel for children (using correct restraints, getting in and out of the vehicle via the safety door)

-       Parents and caregivers modeling safe and appropriate behaviours, like always wearing seat belts themselves.

Resources can be downloaded at www.kidsafevic.com.au/sesame and www.sesameworkshop.org and the CSA can be viewed on Sesame Street's YouTube Channel.

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