Did you know that each year, 130,000 children suffer from head injuries due to bicycle accidents, and that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in children ages 2 to 14 and the leading cause of injury related death in children under 2?
These facts are two of many reasons Carbon County is working toward educating parents about the importance of children being safe.
To help with this cause, April 24 through May 1 is National Safe Kids Week 2010 in Carbon County.
During the county commissioners' meeting Thursday, the board of commissioners adopted a proclamation that honors Carbon County Safe Kids, a group that promotes child safety.
Commissioner Wayne Nothstein, who also is a member of Carbon County Safe Kids, read the proclamation before presenting it to representatives of the group.
He read, "Every kid should have an opportunity to participate in sports or any recreational activity that promotes regular physical activity ... Participation in sports and recreational activities provide substantial health benefits, but can also pose serious health and injury risks.
"More than 30 million children participate in sports each year in the United States and approximately two out of five traumatic brain injuries among youth are associated with participation in sports and recreational activities.
"Safe Kids USA and Safe Kids Carbon County promote childhood injury prevention strategies by uniting diverse groups, developing innovative educational tools and programs, initiating public policy changes, distributing safety devices to families in need, promoting new technology and raising awareness through the media."
Nothstein added that Carbon County Safe Kids has partnered with the Carbon County Masonic Lodge 242 in Jim Thorpe to again host the annual Fun-N-Safety Fair on Saturday, May 1. The fourth annual event will be held rain or shine from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the lodge, located at Fifth and Center streets, Jim Thorpe. This year, the group is adding a sports safety presentation to the event. Two youth sport safety speakers will address the need for being safe while playing sports.
Besides sports related activities, the fair will have a variety of activities that teach about fire, bike, helmet, water, animal, sun, vehicle and sports safety, as well as have free helmet fittings, lead screenings to children under the age of 7, food, give-a-ways and more. The fair is open to all children and their families.
Also new this year, the group held a poster contest, which was open to sixth grade students in all of the county schools.
Nothstein announced the winners, whose posters, along with all participants' posters, will be displayed at the Fun-N-Safety Fair.
The winners are Olivia Hine of Lehighton Area Middle School, first; Jenna Beck of Lehighton Area Middle School, second; and Justin Pile and Nathan Vrablic, who completed a poster together, both of Palmerton Middle School.
Nothstein also recognized Susan Tyler, the former chairperson of Safe Kids and still active member, for her years of service. Tyler will be retiring from her post at the state Department of Health in Jim Thorpe soon.
Carbon County Safe Kids is a partnership of agencies and individuals who promote the prevention of childhood injuries. The group has a non-profit status under its fiscal agent, Blue Mountain Health System.
The group is always looking for sponsors to help make the Fun-N-Safety Fair a reality, as well as volunteers to help on the day of the fair.
If you would like to donate to Safe Kids, mail checks to Mary Lou McGeehan/WomanWise, Blue Mountain Health System, Gnaden Huetten Campus, 211 N. 12th St., Lehighton, PA 18235. Make checks payable to Carbon County Safe Kids.
For more information, questions, or to volunteer, contact Mindy Graver, chairperson of Carbon County Safe Kids, at the Penn State Cooperative Extension, (570) 325-2788.