‘Booster’ the dog has give a vital boost to children’s safety in the West Midlands by joining a campaign set up by Fire Service Crew Commander Darran Gough.
The campaign aims to remind Year 4 pupils and their parents about the life-saving importance of using car booster seats and seatbelts, and is being run in conjunction with Jaguar Land Rover.
Pupils at Templars Primary School in Coventry were invited to come up with a mascot, artwork and slogans for the campaign - at the centre of which is a ‘walk-through’ Range Rover Evoque which will tour schools to help drive home the safety message.
Crew Comm Gough said: “The idea’s very simple. We take the car to schools and invite children to walk through a gap in it - at home time, in front of their parents. If they can do it without ducking, they still need to be using a booster seat when they travel in a car.
“I got the idea when I was at a fair with my daughter, Abigail. They had height bars on some of the rides and she just walked straight under some of them, so she was too small to go on. It really struck me that we worry about safety at a fairground, yet lots of people don’t think twice about how small and vulnerable their children are when they put them in the car every day.”
Children under 1.35m tall or younger than 12 are required by law to travel on a booster seat. However, the recommended safety height is 1.5m because all seatbelts are designed to be worn by people who are 5ft-plus tall. Boosters give children the extra height they need to wear a seatbelt and travel safely.
“I do a lot of work in schools, and I never cease to be amazed by how many children don’t travel on a booster seat when they still need one,” added Gough. “Out of a typical Year 4 class, usually only one or two children are big enough to travel without a booster seat. The campaign will help to get the message over to children in an engaging way - and, hopefully, to their parents through ‘pester power’.”
The Range Rover Evoque will help to round-off safety sessions at schools, during which WMFS firefighters, often working with West Midlands Ambulance Service, will work with pupils on seatbelt safety.
Height charts featuring the winning designs and ‘Booster’ the dog will be left with each school, along with safety leaflets for pupils, parents and teachers. The campaign slogan is ‘Be mature, stay secure’.
Helen Riach, Deputy Headteacher of Templars Primary School, said: “It was a real honour to be asked to be involved in the campaign, and to be the launch school for Coventry.
“The children were really excited when the initial competition to design the mascot started, and they have all learnt some valuable information about how to keep themselves safe.
“Working alongside West Midlands Fire Service and Jaguar Land Rover has enhanced our current Enterprise curriculum, and it was a wonderful opportunity for the children and teachers who went to Gaydon to paint the Range Rover Evoque.”