THE mother of a toddler who died after being hit by a car in a hotel car park is supporting a charity campaign to increase road safety awareness in youngsters and parents, in an attempt to prevent tragic accidents.

Cheryl Yates, from Yarm, is passionate about educating children in road safety after her 17-month-old son Jackson was killed when he was hit by a car in a hotel car park in Salford in August 2017.

It was a family trip to take Jackson to see one of his favourite shows, In The Night Garden Live.

Mrs Yates said: “We were parked just metres from the hotel entrance, and we’d just got out the car. My mum and sister were both there so we didn’t consider it would not be safe – but in a moment he was hit by a car turning a corner. The driver couldn’t see him because it was a left-hand drive and Jackson was just in the wrong place.”

Following the loss of her son, Mrs Yates wanted to do something tangible which would keep Jackson’s memory alive, while also raising awareness of the dangers to children.

As well as working with road safety charity Brake, she has set up her own charity, Blue for Jackson, which has donated 200 free Beep Beep! Day activity packs to schools and nurseries in her community.

To coincide with Road Safety Week this week, Mrs Yates was at Layfield Primary School, Yarm, on Wednesday, to hand out packs with Brake.

Across the region, around 16,500 children aged two to seven will take part in a Beep Beep! Day with Timmy Time to learn road safety basics. Beep Beep! Days are coordinated by road safety charity Brake with support from Aardman Animations and Timmy Time. Timmy is the smallest lamb in Shaun the Sheep’s flock, and his youth and inexperience make him the perfect character to help very young children learn important lessons about road safety.

To highlight the importance of talking to children, and their parents, about road safety, Brake has revealed the true extent of child casualties on the nation’s roads.

Latest official figures show that 857 children were killed or injured while walking or cycling on roads in Yorkshire and The Humber in 2018. Nearly 16,500 children will take part in a Beep Beep Day! with Timmy Time across the region this week.

Mrs Yates said: “It is getting children talking about roads and cars from a young age, and for parents to be aware it doesn’t have to be about fast-moving traffic or dangerous drivers.

“After Jackson died, I needed something to get involved in that would make a difference, and raising money for activity packs and handing them to schools myself seemed a good way to keep his memory alive.” Mrs Yates is also putting together a booklet for schools to help children deal with loss, and to inform them of the process of the funeral and beyond.

She added: “This is our second year donating packs to local primary schools. The packs really stood out to us as they focus on teaching road safety to a younger audience, which we feel is sometimes overlooked. The activities and songs make learning about road dangers engaging and fun.”

Helen Owen, headteacher at Layfield Primary school, Yarm, said: “Road Safety Week is the perfect time to engage children in an issue that affects them. It’s vitally important to us all at Layfield to help shape children’s understanding of, and attitudes towards, road safety – to help give them the best chance of keeping safe while they’re young and as they get older. We incorporate a lot of activities and messages about road safety across the school year, but Road Safety Week allows us to focus on this as the nights draw in. Teachers and children love the Beep Beep! Day resources from Brake and have used them in assemblies, lessons and lunchtime activities. The resources help them share important messages through a range of fun and engaging activities. We are really grateful to our local charity ‘Blue for Jackson’ who have provided each class with a pack of resources to use throughout the week.”