Child Safety Day Teaches and Entertains Kids

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COLUMBIA - From a fire truck and helicopter to free food and stickers, families set out to Community United Methodist Church Saturday to learn about child safety in several situations.

"You don't want to learn after the fact, you want to be prepared for it," said father Jacob Halls.

Halls went to Child Safety Day with his wife and three kids. He said the family went last year and really enjoyed it. Because the Halls family normally tailgates on Saturdays, he said it was a nice change for the kids.

"I know the kids like getting the stickers and checking out the ambulance, the fire truck and obviously the helicopter," said Halls. He said he and his wife kept the helicopter's appearance a secret to surprise the kids.

Day Beck came to Child Safety Day with her husband and kids. While holding her youngest son, Theo, she talked about the importance of safety.

"I think all of the safety things are wonderful and wonderful for parents to know," Day said. "I think it's great getting kids interested in the fire trucks and the ambulances and teach them a little bit about fire safety."

Dan McGavock, an EMT with the Children's Hospital in Columbia,  said he wanted kids to learn to not be afraid of ambulances.

"We want to try to be people that they can trust," McGavock said. "We want to basically give them a little bit of comfort if they ever do have to use our services."

As a father, McGavock said child safety is close to his heart. As a former Columbia firefighter, McGavock said home safety is natural for him too.

"Safety is just something that has to be in the back of your mind all the time," McGavock said.

Halls compared safety in the present with what's happening around the world.

"Safety is very important because of situations that have happened in the past," said Halls. "Because of the changing environment of the whole nation, you want to make sure kids know what to do when something does happen."

Other presenters included Peak Performance talking about concussions in youth sports, the Youth Community Coalition talking about anti-bullying, University of Missouri Healthcare talking about car seat safety and CoMo Cares with a safety activity.

Entertainment included balloon animals made by clowns, free food and candy, music and tons of stickers.