Local agencies are working together to help keep kids safe by teaching them skills for everyday life through a special class this week.
Safety Town is a summer course for kids run by the St. Joseph Safety Council. Sheldon Lyon, executive director of the St. Joseph Safety Council, said these lessons are important and almost 40 different topics are covered during the course of the class.
“We want these kids to enjoy their childhood but be safe. There’s a lot of dangers out in just everyday life and this program just helps educate kids on the do’s and don’ts, how to be safe versus are you at risk,” he said. “And even though they are 5 to 7 years old they are really, really absorbing that information.”
On the second day of class Tuesday, lessons included railroad and boating safety, seat belts and a bit about fingerprinting from local law enforcement.
Cpl. Nicholas Greiner with the Missouri State Highway Patrol taught the boating safety portion of the class, and he said with young kids he keeps his points simple.
“The main thing I want to talk about is wearing a life jacket because at a younger age, a lot of kids might not have the opportunity to swim yet. And I just want them to know that’s the first line of defense — if they enter the water with a life jacket on, you’re gonna be a lot safer,” Greiner said. “We’re trying to get as many people to wear a life jacket and have life jackets readily accessible because it’s a big safety thing, just like wearing seat belts. It’s important.”
Lyon said this group of 5- to 7-year-olds really takes in the information.
“We do pre- and post-tests, so we get to measure the learning that occurs here. You see the town behind me and the fun part of being at Safety Town, there’s also a lot of learning that takes place here and it’s amazing to see the difference from when the kids leave the program what they’ve learned,” Lyon said.
The hands-on Safety Town area was created with help from the United Way of St. Joseph. The setup gives kids the opportunity to learn about stoplights, stop signs and pedestrian rules.