Family campaigns for fences at playgrounds

TAMEEKA Green misses her baby brother Travis McCarron every day.

Earlier this year Tameeka described how much Travis, who tragically drowned in April, meant to his family when she said: "To the world he was one person, but to some people he was the world."

Tameeka, 11, and Travis's aunt Jacintha Morrissey, 13, were at a Kingscliff park last week to draw attention to the playground's perimeter safety fence -- something Travis's family members believe could have saved his life. In April 2008, the 21-month-old was on a family day care outing to an unfenced Tweed Heads South playground with a group of 14 other children when he became separated from the group.

By the time the three carers noticed Travis was missing, it was too late. They found him unconscious in a nearby pond and frantically attempted CPR, but the toddler was later pronounced dead at The Tweed Hospital. More than five months on, the pain of losing Travis is still very real for the McCarron family.

And while nothing can bring him back, his parents Ricky and Kirsty are now campaigning to ensure a similar tragedy doesn't happen to another family. They want to see safety fences erected at every fixed set of children's play equipment within the Tweed Shire.

"I don't want any other parent to have to feel the pain and suffering that I have had to feel," Travis's mum Kirsty McCarron said.

Family friend Katrina Sims said requesting fences be placed around playground equipment was not unreasonable.

"It is just common sense really," said Ms Sims, who is a mum herself. "When you look around, a lot of the playgrounds are close to water or roads and you just can't understand why they wouldn't have fences. "If you look at that group in Murwillumbah, they are asking for that playground to be fenced as well, so it is the same everywhere."

Ms Sims was referring to a group of mothers who are also campaigning for the Knox Park playground to be fenced due to its proximity to nearby streets and a potentially hazardous duck pond. Kirsty and Ricky, who live at Banora Point, are currently circulating a petition in the community asking for support in their campaignt to see Tweed playgrounds become safer. To date the petition has attracted more than 1500 signatures.

"We are endeavouring to collect as many signatures as it takes to try to make the Tweed Shire Council aware of how important it is to fence around all children's playground fixed equipment, especially if near water within the Tweed Shire," the document reads. Ms Sims said it was incredibly brave of Travis's parents to co-ordinate the petition so soon after his passing.

"It was one of the first things they said they wanted to do," she said. "It is something that is going to stay with them forever, but at least if they do this they can feel like something has come out of it."

Anyone wanting to sign the petition can find a copy at the Dry Dock Road convenient store, Tweed Heights IGA and the Tweed Daily News Office. The petition will be submitted to council later this week.

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