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Safe Kids event draws many

May 08, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

On Saturday, four-year-old Grant Carbaugh learned some valuable lessons, including how to approach someone else's pets safely and what to watch for at grandparents' homes.

The learning came at the third annual Safe Kids Gear Up Games at Valley Mall in Halfway.

"It was very interesting and informative," said Grant's father, Mike. He said he thought his son learned a great deal.

They didn't know about the event, but chanced on it while shopping and decided to stop, he said.

That's often the case, said Kimberly Buchanan, coordinator of Safe Kids of Washington County, which sponsors the event. Adults walk by the various safety-themed booths staffed by volunteers, and their children persuade them to investigate further, she said.

There were brochures for adults to read, as well as games and candy for children.

Preventable accidents are the number one killer of children under 14, Buchanan said. The goal of the Gear Up Games is to teach children how to prevent those accidents.

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They do this through such instruction as showing them how to put on bike helmets and pads for in-line skates, she said.

Nearby, Forrest Phillips, a Department of Natural Resources reserve officer, showed children how to put on life jackets and how to get into a boat safely.

The children definitely learn from the event and more are being informed by the program each year, Buchanan said. Two years ago, about 30 people went through the booths but that number ballooned to 300 last year and was expected to reach about 400 Saturday, she said.

There were new booths this year on approaching animals and being careful when visiting grandparents' homes. At the latter booth, one message, for example, was that a grandparent's home might have medicines that aren't in child-resistant packaging.

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