Fair’s games make healthy learning fun

“It’s been a lot of fun, ” said Faith Campbell, a Bloomfield resident, who was interrupted by a whistle blowing. “And loud.”

Health and safety collided with family entertainment Saturday at the third annual Children’s Health & Safety FUN! Fair, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of South Central Indiana.

Campbell brought two girls, friends Danielle and Leslie, who were attending the fair for the third time. Leslie said her favorite part was the balloons, which many children made into hats and wore all day.

More than 500 children attended the fair, which had more than 40 informational booths and featured live entertainment such as dancing and a magic show.

On one side of the parking lot was a school bus from Monroe County Head Start. The area around it was marked with yellow signs reading “Danger Zone” to show children where they shouldn’t walk too close to the bus.

Representatives from Head Start invited children inside to see the bus, where they were taught safety rules, such as making sure to be 10 “giant” steps away from the bus and never to cross the street behind it.

“The No. 1 thing we try to tell them is if you can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see you,” said Kathy Potts, Head Start transportation coordinator.

Potts said that once or twice a day, motorists will pass stopped Head Start school buses, despite the buses’ red flashing lights and signs.

“Red means stop,” she said, adding that “it only takes one moment” for impatience to turn into tragedy.

At the tobacco cessation booth next to the bus, one girl stood quietly and listened to Monroe Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Coalition representative Sage Christianson tell her about the negative effects of smoking.

A poster of a tongue, yellowed and blackened by smoking, hung from the table.

“The kids are always really interested,” Christianson said. “They love things that gross them out.”

Pediatric dentist Keith Roberts ran a booth at which he said he strove to help educate parents about the importance of dental care at an early age.

Photos lay on the table showing the differences between a healthy one-year-old’s mouth and one whose upper teeth were decayed because of juice.

“I’m tired of seeing kids have tooth decay,” Roberts said.

Bloomington Hospital offered free lead poisoning screenings for children and adults.
The hospital also gave away bicycle helmets at its bicycle safety booth. The station had fitted and given away about 100 helmets, toddler-sized to extra large, halfway through the fair.

Bloomington resident Marlena Mize picked up her grandsons, who live in Sullivan County, and brought them to the fair.

She said her grandsons both received the free bike helmets, learned how to use the proper hand signals while riding a bike and enjoyed the inflatable Moon Bounce walk.

Bloomington resident Matt Wysocki said his step-grandson Julian White went through the Moon Bounce walk 20 times. He said Julian looked a little tired and wobbly, but an hour later Julian found his way onstage and learned how to hula dance.

The event chairwoman and president of the Kiwanis Club chapter, Vanessa McClary, said the fair was great for parental awareness.

The intent was to put information out there, for parents to come and receive it and take it home with new ideas about how to care for their children. McClary said all those goals were accomplished.

“If they missed the event today, they missed a treat,” she said.

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