Bike, blade derby puts kids' safety first

June 22, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - At first, 22-month-old Taryn Cosey seemed pleased that she was getting a bicycle helmet like the one they just put on her big sister, Alana, 5.

But Taryn's joy was short-lived. Moments later, her pretty face broke into sobs under the helmet. The attention from Mom and the women hovering around her trying to adjust the helmet just got to be too much.

Taryn was among more than a dozen youngsters 14 and under and their parents who came to Chambersburg Mall on Saturday morning for the Bike, Blade & Board Safety Derby sponsored by Safe Kids Coalition of Franklin County.


Events included an obstacle safety course for bicycles and tricycles; a Tobacco Coalition puppet show; McGruff, the Crime Dog; bicycle helmet safety checks; and car seat safety checks.

Free bicycle helmets and car seats were available to anyone who needed one, said Jennifer Boone, coordinator for the coalition. Money for the helmets and car seats came from the state and national Safe Kids organizations, she said.

The only rule for a free helmet was that coalition representatives had to make sure it fit the child correctly.

The goal of the event was to help children keep safe.

"Injuries are the number one reason why children go to emergency rooms," said Boone, a Franklin County Health Department nurse.

Motor vehicle accidents are the biggest killer of children, she said.

The obstacle course was being run by three Chambersburg Police Department bicycle patrolmen.

PFC Anthony Rosenberry said the officers' role Saturday was to help the children maneuver the course as well as teach them bicycle safety.

Sheena Horst, 9, had just run the course.

"I hit some tennis balls," she said. "It gets harder as it gets thinner," she said.

The children were also learning skateboard safety and the importance of staying out of the sun for long periods to avoid skin cancer.

Alex Pettyjohn was there with his wife, their 8-month-old twin sons and 5-year-old daughter. He was being shown the proper way to install car seats by Anne Franchak, director of the Pennsylvania Safe Kids Coalition from Lemoyne, Pa. She had already given away two car seats.

There was safety advice from experts on skateboarding, in-line skating and sun safety.

Loretta Zimmerman, school liaison assistant for Summit Health, manned the table on safety. She said 80 percent of all sun damage to humans occurs before they reach age 18.

She stressed the need for the proper sunscreen and clothing to protect children from the sun.

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