By John Anderson

The Auburn/Webster Elks presented their fourth annual Bike Helmet and Safety Day on Saturday, and it was a hit for all the kids in attendance. Those running the program made sure the children had a lot of fun, but they also made sure some safety messages were sent home. The event was made possible by a grant from the Elks National Foundation. These funds were used to purchase both bike helmets and car seats.

While APD Officer John O’Brien directed the Bike Rodeo, Bicycle Alley of Worcester did bicycle checks and made minor repairs. The Lodge did helmet inspections and replaced any that were not in good shape. This is not a hand-me-down item. Car seat inspections were done by UMASS Memorial along with police officers from Auburn and Worcester. A few unsafe seats were discarded and new, free seats were installed.

UMASS Memorial was a new participant this year, and in addition to car seat inspections, they brought along their Mobile Safety Street. In and outside, kids could learn about many household hazards and how to avoid injury. The Elks donated a case of bike helmets to the UMASS program, and they were graciously accepted by Ester Borer, Coordinator of Injury Prevention.

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A few yards away, the Auburn Fire Rescue Department had their Safe House Trailer, and numerous children went through and escaped from a simulated fire. Across the way, Massachusetts Elks’ Drug Awareness Trailer was present with an occasional visit by ELROY the Elk. The message of drug awareness requires constant reinforcement for young people.

In addition to the safety stuff, the Home Depot provided a craft area for kids to work on projects; a DJ played music; a water slide cooled kids off; soap bubble and soccer kicking stations were in place, and, most importantly, the Elks provided a free hotdog lunch to those in attendance.

If you missed this year’s Bike Helmet and Safety Day, put it on your calendar for next year. You and your children will have a great time and learn a few things along the way.