Safety Town - 1

By Kathryn Menue


From Tuesday, June 7 through Friday, June 10, community youth participated in the annual Safety Town event at the Boone County Fairgrounds held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Upon arrival, children were greeted by check-in volunteers, such as Laura Lindenberg. Here, children received nametags and colorful stickers to designate their groups for the day.

The week of safety and fun began on Tuesday with bike safety by Rev. Muriel Morley Jahn and Electric Safety by ComEd representatives.

The safety fun continued into Wednesday where nearly 50 children participated in three different programs.

Safety Town (2)Coordinator Laurel Ratcliffe, who has run Safety Town for 15 years, began the day’s proceedings by stretching with the kids to get the pumped up for the morning events, which included a session with a chiropractor, a craft session, and a session on railroad safety.

Dr. Samantha Raczkowski of Generations Chiropractic Wellness kicked things off with a presentation on back health.

She explained that the spine has 32 bones and that the back is a vital part of the body because “it helps your whole body work together.”

She proceeded to explain to the kids the Three T’s of back health: Thoughts, Traumas, and Toxins.

Thoughts or stressors can put a lot of strain on the body, especially the back.

Safety Town (3)Traumas like falls and accidents can create spinal issues.

Toxins like chemicals on a farm or medicines that get rid of “the good and bad guys” can wear on a person’s back.

She also explained the proper way to wear backpacks and the proper lifting technique for lifting heavy objects to ensure back safety.

She told them to wear both backpack straps and to wear backpacks in the center of their back.

The proper way to pick up a heavy object is to lift with the legs and not the back.

Dr. Raczkowski said that a good way to help with spinal health is to exercise.

“Our bodies love to move,” she said. “Our bodies love to exercise.”

Dr. Raczkowski led the group in back healthy exercises such as crawling.

Another station kids visited was the craft station. Boone County Fair Queen Jilliana Paul and Little Miss Melrose Martinez helped kids create and decorate paper hats.

The last program was the railroad safety program led by former railroad worker Jim Langendorf and Jack Ratcliffe.

The duo led the kids through railroad safety workbooks that taught kids railroad safety essentials like never walking on the railroad tracks or railway bridges.

“The bridge is only wide enough for the train,” Ratcliffe said.

The group also learned that a locomotive is about the same size as a two-story house, and they learned about railroad signs and lights.

“Trains always have the right of way,” Ratcliffe said.

The best way to be safe around railroads is to stay far away from them.

After the programs finished, the kids were rewarded with a nice treat, and then they left for home, with many of them returning on Thursday for the next set of programs.

Thursday offered weather safety from WTVO-17, Fire Safety by the Boone County Rural Fire Department, and Food Safety by Diane Cleland from the Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau.

Safety Town ended on Friday, June 10 with Pet Safety from Meyers Kennel, Food Safety in the Kitchen, and Sport Safety by Bill Zonzo.



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