The aim of the visit was to inform young people of the risks of the road, whether they are pedestrians or travelling as passengers.
The event and booklets provided the ideal opportunity to deliver the recently launched road safety ‘Zoo Song’animation to the appropriate audience. The film features vibrant, bold animal characters (parrots, chimps, rhinos and cheetahs) that children can easily identify with. While the song has a catchy chorus that helps everyone to remember the key road safety messages through repetition.
Upon arrival zoo visitors were greeted by the eager teams as they handed out activity books to the children. The Honest Truth team were stationed at the animal enclosures of the parrots, baboons, rhinos and cheetahs, providing encouragement and stickers for the completed books. At the end of the activities both children and adults were tasked to write a pledge as a promise to change their behaviour around road safety.
The event was a huge success with 1372 children taking part in the activity booklet over the two days and a further 1140 parents engaged with.
Laura Pratt, Road Safety Officer from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service said: “We’ve had a fantastic response over the two days, the children have been filling the activity book in and most importantly remembering the road safety messages we have been trying to get across today.
“We’ve been amazed at the response to the pledges from both the children and parents. The most important factor is the messages go home with everyone and they remember what they have learnt at their visit to the zoo.
“The biggest message that has stuck is the rhino message of wearing a seat belt. It’s wonderful that a child promises to wear their seat belt as well as check everyone in the car is wearing one. Seat belts do save lives.”
Clare Vass mother of three said: “It’s really great idea having the activity books, even though there’s lot to see and do at the zoo. The books have given the children a focus on specific animals and they have been really exciting to visit each one. It’s been educational for them as well as made them stop and read the animal information boards.
“The road safety questions at the bottom of each page are a great idea as they have really made them think. George is eight and knew the answers; my two girls are a bit younger and had to think about them. But it’s a conversation we would never have had without the booklets.”
Laura added: “The Honest Truth campaign is a multi-agency partnership that simply works with every age as they all seem to get the messages. I think it’s fantastic that we can instil these road safety points to children at such an early age. If they do see their parents acting incorrectly they can nag them not to.
“Ideally if children grow up observing their parents acting as positive role models in their car, with the correct behaviour (so not speeding or talking on their mobile phones). Hopefully when they come to drive they will have the correct behaviours instilled in them.”
The Honest Truth team had 256 personal pledges made by children who took part.
Laura concluded: “While collecting the above data we identified if people had working smoke detectors and were further able to promote our Home Fire Safety Visit.”
There was also a online competition hosted on the honest truth website as Paignton zoo kindly donated a family ticket. Children were asked to watch and listen to the zoo song and answer a couple of questions relating to the song. The competition will be drawn in May.
More about the Paignton Zoo Competition
More about The Zoo Song
More about The Honest Truth Campaign.
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