By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Event promotes safety for children
Safe Kids Gainesville/Hall County was created in 1992
Deputy Chris Robinson of the Hall County Sheriff’s Office quizzes Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy third-graders Wednesday on the proper way to wear a seat belt during the Safe Kids Week 2011 event. The safety fair was hosted by Safe Kids Gainesville/Hall County. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Competition was fierce in the "smoke detector rally," a race to see which team of students could change smoke detector batteries the fastest.

And otherwise, there was plenty of fun and frolic at the Safe Kids Week 2011 event Wednesday at Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy, 1340 Enota Ave., Gainesville.

But the message was quite serious.

"Kids are about to be out of school and, usually during the summertime, they are not as supervised as they probably should be," said Kim Martin, coordinator of Safe Kids Gainesville/Hall County.

The purpose of Safe Kids Week is to educate children on how to identify and avoid dangerous safety hazards and promote safe behaviors, according to information from the organization.

Safe Kids Gainesville/Hall County, which was created in 1992 and is one of 26 such coalitions in Georgia, will hold a similar event today at Lyman Hall Elementary School, 2150 Memorial Park Road, Martin said.

At the all-day safety fairs, "students rotate through five safety stations to learn about using 911, wearing a seat belt, wearing a life jacket, poison prevention," she said.

The water tips are especially key, with Lake Lanier so highly visited and with the high number of neighborhood and community swimming pools, Martin said.

"Kids can drown in just a few seconds," she added.

This year, however, Safe Kids especially is promoting the theme "Boost and buckle the ones you love," given that Gov. Nathan Deal has signed a new law, effective July 1, requiring children to remain in a vehicle booster seat until they are age 8.

"We wanted to combine the theme with the bill signing to get the information out to parents," Martin said.

Safe Kids, with the help of such agencies as the Gainesville and Hall County fire departments, among others, worked to keep activities light and interesting at the safety fair.

Gainesville Fire Marshal Jerome Yarbrough told a group of children that even though a particular team had won the smoke detector event, "we are winners out here because we all learned how to replace a battery and how to test a smoke detector."

He then quizzed the students on a couple of things he had taught them.

"Pass that lesson on to adults, your parents, anyone you see," Yarbrough said.

A couple of third-graders, Maria Whitson and Bryan Gonzalez, said they enjoyed the event and also saw its importance.

"To be safe," said 9-year-old Maria.