On Thursday, Aug. 8, the 24th group of children graduated from the annual Safety Town program, run by the Fenton Kiwanis Club.
Natalie Perkins of Fenton watched her daughter, June, 5, graduate from the program that day. To her, it can reinforce what she’s already been teaching her. “The more she hears it, the more likely she is to remember it,” Perkins said.
Her daughter really liked the program, and has already been repeating some things she learned, such as the “stop, look and listen” mantra when crossing the street.
Safety Town is built each year to resemble a small-scale “town” with small buildings, roads, street signs and railroad crossings. The interactive learning environment is used to provide practice in many of the safety lessons.
It was offered Aug. 5–8 at the Ellen Street Campus in Fenton.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among young children. The NHTSA also reports that students are more at risk approaching or leaving a school bus than actually riding one.
Heidi Howieson with the Kiwanis Club said there were 47 children in the program. “Safety in all areas of life’s challenges is a priority,” she said. “It takes a village to raise a child, especially in this fast-paced world we live in.”
Safety Town covered traffic safety involving bikes, vehicles, school buses and railroad crossings. It also included poison, stranger danger, water, animals and safety on the playground.
Children rode their bicycles around this miniature town and learned about the street signs and traffic lights. They also heard from experts like firefighters and paramedics.
Howieson said they tried to keep costs down to make it easier for parents and guardians.
“So much has changed in regards to children’s safety overall,” Cathy Utter with Kiwanis said. “Society continues to change and we need to adapt our program to ensure we are teaching the safest methods possible. To do this, we enlist experts from the community to share their knowledge and experiences.”