Checkpoint will target safe travel

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 19, 2000

The River Cities SAFE KIDS Coalition will sponsor bike rallies from 11 a.

Friday, May 19, 2000

The River Cities SAFE KIDS Coalition will sponsor bike rallies from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at three area Wal-Marts – one in South Point, New Boston and Cannonsburg, Ky., said Andrea Perry, coalition chair.

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"It’s an opportunity to teach children about bike safety," Ms. Perry said. "We will have police officers there to check the bikes to see if they are maintained properly. We check helmets to see if children use the correct size and we have an obstacle course to see if children will be using the correct hand signals to make turns."

The SAFE KIDS Coalition is part of a national campaign to reduce the number of unintentional childhood injuries, Ms. Perry said.

"Our purpose is to prevent injuries that happen through things like bicycle accidents," she said. "Unintentional childhood injury is the No. 1 killer of children ages 14 to 1. Car crashes, bicycle injuries, boating safety, sports injuries and fire safety issues all add up to be the No. 1 injury."

The River Cities branch of the coalition has only been in operation for one year, but, in that time, Ms. Perry believes they have made a difference.

"The main thing we have worked on is child safety seats," she said. "Knowing that a lot of people in this area do not use seats or use them incorrectly, that became a primary focus our first year of existence. In this year, we have inspected close to 300 car seats at check point inspections we’ve done. Every time we see a car, everybody has a misuse. There’s been 100 percent misuse."

Now, hopefully, there are 300 safer children on the road thanks to the coalition, Ms. Perry said.

"We always explain to parents the correct way to install and use the car seats," she said. "In that way, we know we’re contributing to the education of parents in the area."

Any area resident is encouraged to attend the upcoming bike rallies, Ms. Perry said.

And the children don’t need to bring a bike, she added.

"You just need to come," Ms. Perry said. "You don’t have to bring a bicycle or a helmet. If you come, we will have loaner bikes. Children can use them to go through the obstacle course."

The coalition is comprised of representatives from King’s Daughters Medical Center, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, Southern Ohio Medical Center, River Valley Health System, Three Rivers Medical Center, Ashland Police Department, Portsmouth City Health Department, Little Sandy District Health Department, Greenup County Health Department, Lawrence County Health Department, FIVCO District Health Department, Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency and South Central Ohio AAA.

More information about child safety or an event schedule may be obtained by calling 1-800-377-5362.