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Safety lessons can be fun

July 03, 2005|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

CHAMBERSBURG, PA.

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Garfield and Tigger greeted children attending Saturday morning's Child Safety Day at M&S Harley-Davidson near Chambersburg.

Besides large, furry cartoon characters, there was a Moon Bounce, face painting, free hot dogs and snow cones, and a Play-Doh sculpting contest. But while the 300 or more children in attendance had fun, they also learned some serious lessons.

The Franklin County Safe Kids Coalition gave out 50 to 60 free bicycle helmets, taking the time to properly fit them to each child's head.

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Jackie Umberger, co-chairperson of the coalition, said she has given out more than 200 helmets so far this year.

"One of our missions is to get the kids wearing helmets," Umberger said. "Helmets make a big difference in the level of injury children sustain (in the event of an accident). We try to have attractive helmets that the kids will think are cool and that they will want to wear."

Brothers Jazz, 2, and Corbin Fogelsonger, 4, received brightly patterned helmets from Umberger. Both ride bicycles with training wheels, according to their grandparents, Vic and Mary Fogelsonger of Chambersburg. Corbin said he "got a helmet and ate a hot dog" at the event, and that he and Jazz made Play-Doh sculptures.

Owner Darren Moats organized the event, the second of its kind for the dealership, and was pleased with the turnout. He planned the event, which included several new activities, to "let kids know about safety out there."

Volunteers from Franklin Fire Company Station 4 in Chambersburg taught youngsters how to climb out a window and down a ladder from a smoky house.

Using their fire safety trailer, complete with fake smoke, Patti and Gary Himes taught stove safety, use of the phone to call 911 in an emergency and how to check a door before opening it if fire is suspected. Gary Himes stressed the importance of having a meeting place outside so that all family members can be accounted for.

Brogan Raddish, 10, who was visiting the area from Fairmont, W.Va., with her mother, Marcie, brought her Yorkie, Daisy, to the event. After Brogan had flowers painted on her arm to match her outfit, she asked for glitter for Daisy's nose. After several tries, face painter Teresa Sollenberger of St. Thomas, Pa., managed to apply some glitter. Daisy was dressed in red, white and blue for the Fourth of July.

Inside the dealership, representatives of the Alliance of Bikers Aimed Towards Education (ABATE) of Pennsylvania showed an Operation Save-A-Life video to educate motorists on how to safely share the road with motorcycles. More than half of all motorcycle crashes are caused by other vehicles violating the motorcycle's right of way. An open car door, tailgating, potholes and loose gravel on the road all are hazards to a motorcyclist.

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