Child safety measures to be offered at expo Saturday

25 agencies, organizations will participate in event

Eldersburg

October 05, 2004|By Gina Davis | Gina Davis,SUN STAFF

Organizers are expecting as many as 3,500 people to attend this weekend's Youth Safety and Learning Expo, an event that aims to teach children and their families how to stay safe - and possibly save lives.

The Knights of Columbus is sponsoring the event, which is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Wal-Mart at Liberty Road and Route 32 in Eldersburg.

"Our youths find amazing and unusual ways to hurt themselves," said John Ramming of the Knights of Columbus. "We want to do something for youths and their families."

About 25 local and state agencies, businesses and organizations, as well as the Army, will join the Knights of Columbus in this effort. Participants, including the Sykesville Police Department, the Maryland State Police and Carroll Hospital Center, will provide advice about staying safe.

"We're trying to look at a lot of the ways in which we can help the youths and their families prevent injuries and maybe save a life," Ramming said.

He pointed to traumatic incidents, such as the electrocution of an Eldersburg child a few years ago, that prompted his group to sponsor the expo.

Among other topics, visitors will learn about bike safety, water safety, gun safety, fire prevention, drug recognition, as well as cancer awareness and detection.

Volunteers will provide instruction in child seat safety and avoiding identity theft. A detective from the Carroll County Sheriff's Office will teach families how to surf the Internet and visit chat rooms safely.

Rescue demonstration

Children will be taught how to report emergencies to 911. They also will be able to observe a fire emergency rescue demonstration.

Volunteers from Carroll County Office of Prevention Services, Junction Inc., a drug intervention and outpatient treatment organization, will talk to parents and teenagers about the signs of drug abuse.

Representatives from Tristar Martial Arts said that when they heard about the event they felt compelled to get involved.

"We asked them about getting involved because [child safety is] right up our alley," said Deborah Thompson of Tristar "We want to do any and everything we can do here to promote safety for our children."

The martial arts school will offer instruction in several areas, including exercise and physical fitness, to teach children how to stay healthy. The school's staff also will share safety tips. For example, when accosted by a stranger, "Never yell for help. ... Yell `You're not my mom!' or `You're not my dad!'" to draw attention, Thompson said.

Teaching games

Carroll Hospital Center medical staff will use games to teach children how to distinguish between medicines and candy, said Stephanie Smith, the hospital's marketing and public relations specialist. The hospital also will share tips on preventing skin cancer.

The event is free, but Ramming said his group will accept donations, which will benefit organizations, such as The Arc of Carroll County, that serve handicapped and mentally disabled people.

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