Safe Kids Whatcom County fair focuses on education, fun

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 5, 2014 

Safe Kids fair, Bellingham

Bellingham Fire Department's Jesse Ireland helps an unidentified child with a fire hose at the 2013 Safe Kids fair.

LARRY HOFFMAN — COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

BELLINGHAM - Safety education in its many forms is the theme of the fifth annual Safe Kids Whatcom County fair, which brings together several local agencies that offer educational advice on issues as varied as water safety, fire safety and how to use public transportation wisely.

It's free from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 7, at the Barkley Regal Cinemas parking lot near the corner of Barkley Boulevard and Woburn Street. Visitors will see fire engines and an aerial ladder truck, discover what it looks like inside a police cruiser, meet the iconic Mr. Yuck, learn about boating and swimming safely, watch a bomb-disposal robot and study some of Medic One's first-aid gear - including an automatic CPR device.

Safe Kids is a worldwide organization with a goal to prevent accidental death and injury among children and teens.

"We want kids to be safe year-round, but especially going into the summer season, when kids are more active, we remind them about bicycle, pedestrian and water safety," said Erica Work of Safe Kids and South Whatcom Fire Authority, where she organizes school fire-safety programs and conducts free child-safety seat inspections.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the top causes of unintentional death and injury among those younger than 19 are car crashes, suffocation, drowning, poisoning, fire/burns, falls, and sports and recreation. Safe Kids participants will offer information on all those topics.

Among the more popular activities are the free car-seat checks, a bicycle skills course, and the Fire Safety House, where participants learn what to do if their house catches fire. Children watch a safety video and then go into a mock-up of a child's bedroom, where fake smoke simulates a fire and children must find two ways to escape.

"Instead of hearing about fire safety, actually practicing it can remind families what to do when their smoke alarm goes off," Work said.

Agencies in attendance will be offering games, prizes, and safety information to help children and their parents learn about safety issues. Young participants will receive a "passport" that they can get stamped and earn a prize for visiting various safety displays.

"There's a safety message associated with each item," Work said.

Reach Robert Mittendorf at 360-756-2805 or robert.mittendorf@bellinghamherald.com.

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