Summer's mother Andrea Shoesmith with Tewantin principal Rob Jennings and some of the pupils celebrating Summer's Day.
Summer's mother Andrea Shoesmith with Tewantin principal Rob Jennings and some of the pupils celebrating Summer's Day.

'She's always with me': Community remembers 'cheeky' Summer

TO HER mum Andrea Shoesmith, Summer Steer will forever be the delightful cheeky prankster who loved catching her out with imaginary visitors coming to their front door.

The forever-four-year-old, who is the positive life force behind Summer's Day at Tewantin State School, was so much more than the tragic story of the little girl who swallowed a button battery that lodged in her oesophagus.

Andrea had no idea Summer had swallowed the battery and took her to hospital with growing concerns about her daughter's "black poo'' and complaints of stomach pains.

Sadly, it saw her eventually pass away on June 30, 2013.

Summer has since become the beaming face of a child safety campaign, but to Andrea she was her little rogue.

"She was very outgoing, she was a bit of a trickster, she was pranking me all the time," Andrea said.

"She would be telling me there were people at the door when they weren't," she said.

"She once told me there was a chicken out the front and we were in suburbia … I thought there's no chicken there and then, my god, she came to the door with a chicken under her arm."

Summer Steer
Summer Steer

They kept the chook and named it Pink after Summer's favourite rock star, but it could have been easily called Purple as the youngster had a passion for that colour.

That's why the school turns out into a sea of purple every year on Summer's Day, February 28, a special day for Kidsafe Queensland to mark the 75 children who every year die from preventable accidents.

Andrea said this day of setting up purple balloons with the kids on the school fence facing the main road is a great way to keep Summer's memory alive to the passing stream of traffic at the start of the school day.

"She's always with me there, and it's always good," Andrea said.

"It's a celebration, the kids get right into and there are a lot of new kids here this year at the school that may not know about her story.

"It's about bringing forward the awareness (of button batteries)."

Andrea is continuing her campaign to secure safer packaging of button batteries and is hopeful of real progress now that a taskforce has been put together by the ACCC with the help of consumer group CHOICE Australia.

School principal Rob Jennings said Summer's Day was an important school occasion "because of what happened to one of our family" and to send a message about personal safety with button batteries.

"It's for the parents also to be aware that button batteries existing in a lot of these cheap toys and even our car keys.

"It's an important thing to make just not our community aware but Australia aware of these products especially in these $2 shops."

Mr Jennings said kids can get access to these and "they do look like a lolly or a small coin" that small kids like to put in their mouth.

The school had adopted a no button battery policy for the products they use, which it encourages other schools to follow

Tewantin Year 6 student Ezra Rameka said they are taught about "a little girl who swallowed a button battery" and the need to make things safer for kids.

She said it was "very important" to come out on the day in purple to honour Summer's memory.