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Back to School Bash focuses on protecting kids during summer

Event hands out school supplies to students in need

POSTED: July 10, 2014 1:00 a.m.

Education and fun don’t always go together, but two agencies are seeking to change that.

Amerigroup and Safe Kids Gainesville/Hall County plan to educate children and parents on the dangers of accidental injury while entertaining them at the same time Saturday during a “Back to School Bash.”

Families may attend the free festival from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 12 at the Lakeshore Mall. Amerigroup and Safe Kids will provide free health and safety screenings to festival-goers as well as free school supplies, entertainment, food and games.

The Back to School Bash takes place at the height of summer when a spike in accidental injuries involving children occur, said Kim Martin, Safe Kids Gainesville/Hall County’s coalition coordinator.

“The summer season we nickname trauma season, because we see a lot more injuries from playing or riding bikes,” Martin said. “(Kids) don’t always wear the proper equipment. If they do, they’re not wearing it appropriately. They have a helmet that’s too big or too small.”

Bike helmets, life jackets and car seats are the most important items that must fit properly to protect children. Safe Kids will offer free bike helmet fittings at the Back to School Bash.

“We find a lot of issues where parents want to buy (safety equipment) a couple sizes bigger than the child is, so they can have room to grow into it,” Martin said. “But life jackets and bike helmets especially need to fit children at the age they are now. If they’re too big, they’re not going to protect them during an accident.”

Safe Kids and Amerigroup will hand out free bike helmets and school supplies to parents with children. The Hall County Sheriff’s Department, Gainesville Police Department and Gainesville Fire Department will also bring trucks for children to explore.

Parents and children are advised to arrive early as supplies will be handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“We had people lined up an hour before we even started (last year),” Martin said of 2013’s inaugural Bash. “It was fairly busy, but that’s what we want. We want to get supplies and helmets to those who need them.”


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