Child safety fairs help raise awareness, provide tools for protecting kids
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization working to help families and communities keep kids safe from injuries, preventable injuries are the number one cause of death in children. Safe Kids Worldwide reports that every year 8,000 families in the U.S. lose a child to a preventable injury. Millions more children are injured every year. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, nearly 7.7 million children in the U.S. are treated for injuries in emergency departments every year, often for serious injuries that can affect them for a lifetime.
Several years ago, Melissa Rodriguez, a local H&R Block office manager in Brockton, Mass., which is 25 miles south of Boston, saw escalating news reports of kids getting hurt in her town and felt that she needed to do something about it so she took it upon herself to be an agent of change that her community urgently needed.
“I love this city and the people in it. I thought, by putting together a child safety fair, I could do something to help educate children and parents on how important safety is,” said Rodriguez. “I love to see the smile on the kids’ faces when they attend. We make it a fun event for them and their parents too.”
Rodriguez decided to partner with the Boys & Girls Club of Brockton, whose number one job is to provide child protection and safety, and other community and government organizations, to host a child safety fair. The free child safety event, which is now in its sixth year, features fire and bike safety demonstrations, touch-a-truck opportunities, child identification kits and much more including refreshments, snacks, raffles, prizes and pictures with children’s characters. What started out as a small child safety fair six years ago has now turned into a much-anticipated community event with a growing number of attendees. This year, the child safety fair in Brockton had approximately 350 parents and children attend.
“I’m amazed how much the vendors, parents and children enjoy this event,” said Jodie Braga, district general manager of H&R Block for the Brockton area. “The care officer from the local police department even loves it and said it was her favorite event. The people in the community look forward to this event year after year, all thanks to Melissa.”
According to officer Rosa Vasquez from the Brockton Police Department, “The event is something great H&R Block is doing for families and children in the community. You can never offer too much information on safety and by H&R Block doing a child safety fair they are helping to make the city safer.”
At this year’s child safety fair, parents and children learned about fire safety, bike safety, water safety, winter safety, poison control, and lead poisoning. CPR and anti-bullying presentations were also delivered thanks to participating community partners such as the Brewster Ambulance, Brockton Fire Department, Brockton Police Department, New York Life Insurance, Bamsi, AAA, FMC Ice Sports and YMCA-Safe Corners. Parents and children all received safety coloring books, a checklist and a car decal for emergencies.
Since the inception of the H&R Block child safety fair in Brockton, other H&R Block offices in nearby communities have started to offer this family event as well. This year, H&R Block offices in Worcester, Mass. and South Portland, Maine partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester and the Boys & Girls Club of Southern Maine respectively, and successfully held similar child safety events to help the local community.