A lesson on driveway safety in Pat Kennedy's childrens’ book "Billy-Be-Safe’s Very Hot Day"

Paramedic PR pioneer and Ambulance Legacy member Pat Kennedy has written a children’s book about safe play for children, with a particular focus on driveway dangers.

Pat has shared many stories in his career as an Ambulance communicator and author. The now retired paramedic has written six books across a range of genres from historical non-fiction to biography.

His latest work is a children’s picture book with a serious underlying message about driveway safety.

In Billy Be Safe’s Very Hot Day, two paramedics – Billy Be Safe and Becky Be Careful and their trusty dog Willy Be Wary give timely safety tips to their native animal friends as they go out on an adventure together.

The story – ideal for three to seven year-olds – is set around the Royal National Park near Pat’s home at Heathcote, with Pat’s rhyming prose beautifully illustrated by Alice Hughes.

One of the safety scenarios involves children waiting safely at a distance and holding hands while a driver reverses out a driveway.

Pat Kennedy with his picture book at Engadine Ambulance Station
Former Paramedic and author Pat Kennedy shows his childrens’ book Billy-Be-Safe’s Very Hot Day to Engadine Intensive Care Paramedic Scott Collings

“My ‘Billy’ manuscript sat in a drawer for decades and now I have 10 grandchildren. I want to decrease accidents involving children – especially driveway accidents,” said Pat Kennedy.

Despite developments such as reversing cameras, the driveway remains a very dangerous place, especially for young children.

“In the 10-year period up to 2020, more than 100 children were killed in Australian family driveways, compared to 66 in the ten-year period to 2010,” explained Pat.

“I estimate that nearly 1000 children are being seriously injured in Low Speed Vehicle Run Overs in their driveways each decade.

“I wrote Billy Be Safe’s Very Hot Day to bring attention to this national tragedy by educating children, parents and grandparents in a fun and engaging way.”

The author is putting his money where his mouth is too.

He’s donating royalties from the book to the Georgina Josephine Foundation, which supports families affected by low-speed vehicle run over accidents, and works to raise awareness of the danger – as well as to the international children’s charity Compassion.

Pat’s hopeful there’ll be more Billy Be Safe books in the pipeline too.

“Our children and grandchildren are so precious. Having accessible, localised safety messages that Australian kids can relate to is crucial in nurturing confident risk-aware children,” said Pat.

You can find more information about Billy-Be-Safe’s Very Hot Day at www.billybesafe.com.au