SAFETYVILLE YOUNGSTOWN Lessons link kindergartners, cop

The program will teach kindergartners howto stay safe.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown Police Officer Sharman Simon may be used to dealing with criminals, but next month she will be working with a different group: kindergartners.
The police department, along with Youngstown City Schools and St. Elizabeth Health Center, is sponsoring Safetyville Youngstown. The program is designed to raise children's awareness of safe practices and to teach them how to conduct themselves in potentially dangerous situations.
Children will participate in the program for two consecutive half-days Aug. 5-8 or Aug. 12-15 at Choffin Career Center.
Topics to be covered include school bus safety, animal safety, child assault, stranger safety, fire safety, 911 ambulance, gun safety, poison safety and playground, traffic and pedestrian safety. A preview of the program was Tuesday at the health center.
"I really hope parents will give their kids the opportunity to learn these things," said Simon, also a coordinator of Safetyville.
Best time to teach
Brenda Bell, a registered nurse at St. E's and injury prevention coordinator, said the best time to teach kids about safety is when they enter kindergarten.
"We're very excited to get them out there and give them a little more information about the things they're going to encounter outside the home," Bell said.
Bell also explained that the Childhood Fatality Review Board reported a high rate of child mortality in Mahoning County.
"A lot of that is related to premature births," Bell said. "But a lot of those numbers are related to safety hazards -- things that are preventable like bike accidents, gun accidents in the home, or pedestrian accidents."
Margie Brown, Rural Metro Ambulance marketing representative, hopes the program will help prevent childhood trauma and injury.
"In something like Safetyville, you have a controlled atmosphere so you can teach them what to do," Brown explained. "This way they can be prepared. They know what's going to happen, we can teach them and answer their questions."
The Safetyville program is free, and is open to all Youngstown children entering kindergarten. Parents can get registration forms at any Youngstown library or school. Registration deadline is Monday.
For more information, contact Simon at (330) 742-8218, or Dawud W. Abdullah at (330) 744-7923.

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