Environmental Health Officer Uvindu Warnakulasooriya, Environmental Health Coordinator & author Sharomi Dayanand, and Environmental Health Officers Geoff Lang and Kate Barraclough.


Needles the Echidna's tips on staying safe & healthy

Published: 07 Aug 2020 10:25am

Wagga Wagga City Council’s Environmental Health team believes education is an effective tool in helping to heighten awareness within our community in changing times.

To help safeguard the community, especially children, the team has developed and published a children’s educational resource entitled Stay safe and healthy with Needles the Echidna.

Environmental Health Coordinator Sharomi Dayanand said Needles the Echidna is the main character in the book, which is designed to be educational tool.

“Since Needles the Echidna had such success with the Be Sharps Smart book, we thought he would be perfect to engage with children,” Ms Dayanand said.

“The booklet aims to provide ways for children to comfortably voice their concerns, embrace change and understand how to stay safe and healthy. It helps reinforce and heighten their awareness of the importance of good hygiene practices and maintaining a safe distance.

“It also encourages parents, caregivers and teachers to talk to children about the importance of safety with regards to viruses and diseases in these changing times.”

The content of the vibrant book aligns with the messages promoted by NSW Health.

The story centres around an on-line video call between Needles and several children, who ask Needles questions about staying safe and healthy.

“It raises awareness about the importance of maintaining a safe distance, coughing and sneezing etiquette, personal hygiene such as effective handwashing, trying not to touch our face, ensuring surfaces are clean and staying home when unwell,” Ms Dayanand said.

“It also highlights ways to stay healthy, such as being active, eating well, getting adequate sleep, drinking plenty of water and doing things that keep us happy.”

Wagga Wagga City Council will provide schools, pre-schools and childcare centres with a copy of its educational material.

The publication will also be available for loan at each of the 20 branch libraries of the Riverina Regional Library network so that many more can benefit from this worthy educational initiative.