Spring has sprung! That means more outdoor activities and kids walking and biking to school! The Through the 5 E’s (evaluation, encouragement, education, enforcement, and engineering), Safe Routes to School programs throughout the nation strive to encourage walking and biking to school. Not only does this reduce traffic in busy zones, it is also a healthy habit!
Thompson School District’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program works with local agencies, organizations, cities, and developers to try to make walking and biking to school a safe, fun and healthy activity for students in elementary and middle school. Activity before and after school does not only improve physical health, it also gives a boost to a student’s brain power. As little as 7 minutes of physical activity before a test has proven to boost test scores by up to 17%! Regular physical activity also helps with a child’s memory and focus.
Because of this, TSD’s Safe Routes to School program works with Safe Kids Larimer County to make sure students are aware of the importance of protecting their most valuable asset – the brain! The partnership with Safe Kids’ Strap and Snap program to teach 3rd graders helmet safety goes hand in hand with the Safe Routes goals. A main focus of SRTS bike safety training is teaching kids to always wear a helmet when on a bike, scooter, skateboard or skates!
May is Bike to School Month and with the warmer spring weather it’s a great time to encourage students to get out and ride! An easy way to get kids riding is to start a bike train to and from school – a group of neighborhood riders of all ages that can meet up at different locations in their neighborhood to ride together.
It’s like a carpool—without the car—with the added benefits of having safety in numbers (a bigger group of bicyclists can be easily seen by traffic), added exercise, and visits with friends and neighbors.
To start your own neighborhood bike train:
- Invite families who live nearby to bike (or walk) together. (or start a sign-up sheet at your school)
- Create a route and take a test ride.
- Decide how often the group will ride together.
- Be sure everyone knows how to be safe on their bike – review hand signals, look for traffic when crossing a street, and ALWAYS wear helmets.
- Have fun! (create theme days, decorate your helmets, enjoy nature!)
- Click here for more tips on creating your own bike train.
Written by Mechelle Martz-Mayfield, Thompson School District Safe Routes to School Coordinator
This December will be the 23rd annual Larimer County Sheriff’s Kids Christmas party! The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office provides a magical Christmas party for over 120 children kindergarten through 5th grade from mobile home communities in unincorporated Larimer County. Santa and Mrs. Claus talks to each child and gives them a Christmas gift just for them! The kids get to see Mr. Incredible – with all his magic tricks. They play games and get prizes, visit with McGruff, the crime prevention dog, and enjoy snacks before they find out who won a bike!
Throughout the year, donated bikes are refurbished for the kids bike raffle at the Christmas party. Each child has a raffle ticket with their unique number on it. When arriving at the party, the child can place his/her raffle ticket in the bike box they would like to have. We have between 30 and 50 bikes each year and Safe Kids Larimer County donates and fits helmets for every bike and winner! When the child’s name and number are called as a winner – their faces light up and you know it’s going to be a great Christmas! It is so nice to be able to not only provide a bicycle to someone who may not have one, but also a helmet to keep them safe!
~Barbara Bennett, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office
The Family Center/La Familia has been an important partner from the inception of Safe Kids Larimer County. They provide a safe and familiar space for our Spanish Car Seat Classes once a month plus an area for the caregivers’ children to play during the class. This allows the caregiver to focus on the lifesaving information they are being provided during the class.
Their staff are wonderful advocates for our car seat classes and the importance of car seat safety. When necessary, they provide translation to break down the barrier and increase understanding between the car seat technician and the caregiver. Our partnership with The Family Center is invaluable. 25% of our car seat class participants are Spanish-speaking and we would be unable to reach these families in as an effective way without The Family Center’s support.
Since 1995, The Family Center/La Familia, a bilingual organization, has offered high quality early childhood education and family strengthening services. Their primary goal is to strengthen and stabilize working families with children through supportive services such as childcare, parent enrichment programs and after-school tutoring. For more information, visit their website at: https://thefamilycenterfc.org/.
Every year sadly another child suffers a head injury riding a bike without a helmet. Brain injuries can take months to years or even a lifetime to heal. As bicyclists, the PEDAL Club understands the need for helmets on every cyclist. Since 2013 PEDAL and the Egg & I have been hosting an annual fundraiser to help Safe Kids Larimer County raise money to purchase helmets for kids. In this past school year, Safe Kids Larimer County reached 3,088 third grade students through the Strap and Snap program in TSD, PSD and WSD. In the 2016 school year, 2,394 third grade students went through the program. During that time, 508 helmets were fitted and 467 helmets were distributed to students. This year our goal is to raise $500 for Safe Kids Larimer County so they can continue to educate and protect our children. There will be booths at the Loveland Egg & I and the Oakridge Egg & I offering helmets for bicyclists and skateboarders for $10.00 each. All monies collected go to Safe Kids Larimer County.
You can help by visiting any participating Egg & I Saturday, Sept. 30th by any type of vehicle. The Egg & I’s in Fort Collins and Loveland will be donating 25% of all kids meals sold this weekend to Safe Kids Larimer County. Those wanting to join the PEDAL Club’s ride can meet us at Centennial Park, 977 W 1st St, Loveland. The ride will depart from the east side of the park at 8am. The ride is approximately 35 miles. You can ride with us to one, two or all three Egg & I’s. For more information you can visit PEDAL’s website at: Pedalclub.org. Please remember to wear your helmet!
Motor vehicle-related injuries are a leading cause of death for children with 3 children dying and 469 injured EVERY DAY.
Roughly 70% of families leave the hospital with their newborn improperly harnessed in their car seat and/or with their car seat installed incorrectly.
September is National Child Passenger Safety Month and Safe Kids Larimer County has partnered with local organizations to hold 2 free Car Seat Checkup Events! Both on September 30th, one in Fort Collins and one in Loveland. Call 970-495-7502 to sign up for your appointment today! See flyers below.
UCHealth is our leading agency and we are so thankful to be apart of such a great system. We are especially thankful this month for the partnership we have with our counterparts at University of Colorado Hospital, the Trauma/Emergency Department at Poudre Valley Hospital (PVH) and UCHealth EMS. Collaboration between these departments allowed us to pilot the Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth (P.A.R.T.Y.) program at PVH with Poudre High School in March.
Throughout the program the students heard from experts in each of those departments where it was obvious the passion and commitment they have for their profession. The passion spilled over into a desire to prevent those students from ever encountering them while on duty. Hearing this made the students more aware of their actions and the ripple effect – where an action does not only affect yourself but others as well.
We truly appreciate everyone’s dedication to treating patients and taking time out of their day to educate on prevention. The P.A.R.T.Y program would not run without their help!
Poudre Valley Hospital is a level III trauma center and opened in 1925. The new Emergency Department opened in February 2017 to accommodate their growing census and provide optimum care to patients and their families. PVH and MCR are apart of the UCHealth System.
Do you work with families (or are a family!) who speaks Arabic or French? Child Safety Link has uploaded multiple car seat educational videos in Arabic, English and French. Click here for their YouTube channel link. Or view the first video in the series below:
Come out on Sunday, February 12th between Noon and 2 p.m. at Colorado State Patrol (3832 S. I-25) to dump your old car seats!
Around Valentine’s Day our thoughts turn to our loved ones, especially our children. Safe Kids Larimer County urges parents and caregivers to ensure their children are riding as safely as possible by dumping their old, unsafe car seats and boosters.
Car Seats Colorado provides a pod to place recalled, expired and/or crashed car seats. These seats are then taken to be recycled.
Click here to open event flyer.
Although we’d love to see you at the awareness event, the pod stays at this location year round and old car seats can be dropped off Monday – Friday between 8-4:30 p.m.