In July, our family went on our first road trip, covering over 3,400 km (to see a map of our trip, click here). Best family holiday we have had yet! The beauty of Australia struck me as we travelled. It’s so very beautiful: rugged, majestic, vast, tropical, mountainous, lush, dry and everything in-between. I want to explore more of this wonderful country we live in, so you can imagine my delight when I had the opportunity to ask The Wiggles about their favourite destinations in Australia.
Volkswagen partnership with The Wiggles is to raise awareness of road safety so there is also great tips about travelling with kids and keeping them safe on the road in this post. This information is approved by Kidsafe.
Interview with The Wiggles
Australia is a vast and beautiful country. What do you love most about travelling around?
Murray (red): There are so many great holiday destinations around Australia, including some lovely quiet spots to holiday with your family. The weather is always good and I love the beaches.
Jeff (purple): I love seeing all the new scenery wherever we travel. I like to check out the local beaches, fishing and food!
Anthony (blue): I love the great outdoors anywhere in Australia! Australia has such a wonderful rich indigenous history as well.
Do you have a favourite place to visit?
Murray (red): Last year my family and I went to the Northern Territory. Uluru was incredible and we took a helicopter ride over the rock. The stark beauty is stunning – so different for city dwelling kids to see Kakadu and the outback. We saw crocodiles in the Adelaide River – it was an amazing holiday.
Jeff (purple): My favourite place is the far north coast of NSW because I grew up there. There’s great surfing at Ballina and Lennox Head, and I love Casino because it’s the beef capital of Australia – you can get a great steak there during Beef Week!
Anthony (blue): Sydney! I love the harbour because there are so many things to see – jump on a ferry or riverboat and sail past the world famous Opera House – you’ll see the Sydney Harbour Bridge, known as the coat hanger by the locals! Luna Park is just under the Harbour Bridge and it has been delighting children for years. Taronga Zoo has lots of animals and you can even visit it at night! There are lots to see around Sydney on the water – take a ferry to Watsons Bay and have a BBQ. There are all of Sydney’s great beaches or you can go to Balmoral Beach which is waveless and has shark nets so it’s safe!
In the Wiggle Around Australia Tour with Volkswagen, there is a focus on road safety. What makes this a priority message for the Wiggles to communicate?
Road accidents are one of the leading causes of accidental death and injury amongst young children in Australia. Children’s understanding of road safety behaviour develops slowly and from an early age. Whilst it is primarily up to the parents to educate their own children to the dangers of the road, Volkswagen and The Wiggles felt that a helping hand could go a long way to reducing the prevalence of accidents on the roads involving young people.
The Wiggles have been, and continue to be, involved heavily within young children’s lives and are able to make a lasting impression on the development of children through their fun loving nature and music. It is this influence that gives us the chance to help parents and make a positive difference to the development of young children.
What are 3 tips for keeping children safe when travelling?
1. It goes without saying, that keeping a child properly restrained in a motor vehicle is one of the most important steps to keeping your child safe. Whatever restraint you use, whether it be a capsule, a child restraint or a booster seat, make sure your child is restrained appropriately and correctly at all times.
2. It often goes unnoticed, but keeping your child hydrated and well-nourished on long journeys can make the trip all the more pleasant for everyone. Ensure that your child is constantly drinking water and eating healthy snacks to have enjoyable trip.
3. Whenever you stop for a rest break or leave your car with the child for any reason – observe your surroundings with your child and communicate to them clearly the important road safety issues around them. For example, asking these questions: Are we in a busy carpark? Is there a road nearby?
Making your child aware of their surroundings, not only educates them in the short-term, but also teaches them good road safety habits so they consistently check for dangers around them.
What are 3 tips for keeping children entertained when travelling?
1. Long car trips can be quite boring for young children. Generally speaking, children love to draw and ‘do’ things so provide them with tools to keep them occupied. This is one of the keys to a happy journey for both parent and child.
2. Interacting with your children is often the best way to keep them happy and occupied. Games that use their imagination such as “I Spy with My Little Eye” are great ways to keep the child’s mind off the trip.
3. Making frequent stops can provide much needed breaks over long trips. Stretching the legs, eating some snacks and getting some fresh air is just what young bodies need to rejuvenate and keep them happy when travelling.
On our recent road trip, we packed the kids an activity bag filled with a journal, drawing supplies, stickers, travel games and snacks.
What are 3 road safety tips?
1. Always cross at lights or at a marked pedestrian crossing, and even then, model anticipatory behaviour by ensuring it is safe to cross before stepping off the kerb.
2. Avoid stepping out from behind a parked vehicle.
3. Make sure an adult is holding a child’s hands when they need to cross the road whether they want this or not! This should continue until they are seven or eight years old. Drivers may not see a small child crossing the road. Furthermore, children cannot estimate the speed of an approaching car and may believe the car is far enough away to give them time to cross safely but that may not be the case.
How early should parents begin teaching their children about road safety?
Road safety habits are formed from a very young age. Parents can raise awareness with their children about road safety, and what to do in various situations to avoid potential accidents. Remain positive and show your child firsthand, by taking them out under your own supervision, and show by example how to act and behave near roads and areas with motor vehicles. This is a good way to ingrain good road safety habits in children.
How can music play a part in teaching children to be safe around roads?
Children love music. It forms probably the largest part of their entertainment and can capture their imagination, keeping them occupied for hours on end. It is this focused attention that makes music so powerful when it comes to young children and how they learn. Combining education and entertainment has always been a winning combination. Keeping the children engaged and interested through music, whilst teaching them positive messages about road safety, is going to be a win/win for both children and parents alike.
What other resources can parents use to educate and communicate this important message to children?
If parents are looking for more information on road safety and child education there are an abundance of sites out their providing great information.
The Wiggle Around Australia website has plenty of information relating to child safety on the roads. Booklets and information packs for both children and parents can be viewed or downloaded at your leisure. It also provides a fun environment for Kids to interact with their childhood icons, The Wiggles.
Kidsafe is home to numerous child safety tips for preventing unintentional injuries and other child safety messages. It is a great place to visit periodically to refresh your own mind and gain some valuable insights on how to protect your children.