Safe Kids Carbon County has been awarded a $500 sports grant for use at the upcoming Fun-N-Safety fair.

During a recent meeting of the Fun-N-Safety fair committee, which is comprised of members of Safe Kids and Carbon Masonic Lodge 242, Susan Tyler of the Department of Health and Safe Kids Carbon County, announced that the group has been awarded a Safety First in Youth Sports grant by Pennsylvania Safe Kids to use for a sports related activity at the Fun-N-Safety fair on Saturday, May 1.

She said that to fulfill the requirements of the grant, a new activity including youth sports safety speakers will take place at the fair. A poster contest is also being organized.

The speakers, who will be from St. Luke's Hospital and Blue Mountain Health System, will talk to children, parents, and youth sports coaches at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Children will receive a free sports related item for attending a session.

The poster contest, which will be related to sports safety, is open to all sixth grade students in Carbon County.

Teachers will give the classes' entries to Tyler by April 16 and winners will be announced at the Carbon County Commissioners' meeting on April 22.

Mindy Graver, chairperson of Safe Kids Carbon County, added that all poster entries will be displayed at the fair.

The annual event is sponsored by Carbon Masonic Lodge 242 and Safe Kids Carbon County and will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the masonic lodge, located at Fifth and Center streets in Jim Thorpe. The fair is open to all Carbon County children and their families.

The Fun-N-Safety fair provides free activities to teach children about staying safe. Programs include bike safety, fire safety, sun safety, animal safety, car safety, water safety and more. Free lead screenings for children under 7 years of age and women who are pregnant are also available.

Parents must accompany their child for lead screening because a parent or guardian signature is required.

Children, as well as adults, can be exposed to lead through a number of ways.

According to a press release published by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, "Lead is inhaled or consumed from peeling lead-based paint; lead-contaminated dust, soil and water; and other sources in and around the home. Lead poisoning affects people of all ages, but most severely affects young children under the age of 6, whose primary source of exposure is from deteriorated lead-based paint and lead dust in their homes."

If lead poisoning is not treated, it can cause damage to the brain, nervous system, or kidneys; as well as cause learning and physical development problems, blindness, speech and hearing problems, weak muscles, high blood pressure, anemia, convulsions, mental problems, paralysis, or death.

"Lead exposure can also be especially harmful to pregnant women and women of childbearing age," states the Pennsylvania Department of Health. "Lead can be stored in a woman's body and if she becomes pregnant, may be carried to her unborn child, causing premature birth, birth defects, developmental problems and even miscarriage."

Symptoms for lead poisoning can include stomach aches, cramping, headaches, nausea, vomiting, convulsions, fatigue, irritability, vision problems, loss of appetite or sleeplessness.

For more information on the event, to become a volunteer, or on ways to donate to the event, contact Jerry Dotter at (570) 325-2420 or (570) 657-0823 or Tyler at (570) 325-6106.

Last year, over 400 people attended the Fun-N-Safety fair.