By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
A family event Saturday at Vidant Edgecombe Hospital will offer fun activities while increasing the community’s awareness of a serious issue. Blue Ribbon Kidz Day is set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the grounds of the hospital, at 111 Hospital Drive in Tarboro.
“It’s geared around child abuse prevention month,” said Erin Grimsley, director of marketing, business development and gifts for the hospital. “We host a family-friendly event, which is a great thing to have in our community.”
While the children visit with Spiderman and fairy tale princesses, jump around in the bounce houses, get their face painted, or tour the inside of a rescue squad, their parents have opportunities to learn family-oriented information, about everything from child seat safety to gun safety to nutrition.
Heather Pachnar, marketing specialist for the hospital, said she enjoys seeing the children having a good time while attendees are learning something at the same time.
“It’s fun and informative,” she said.
Ernie Glover, the hospital’s nurse manager for women’s and children’s services, said the event provides support to families while providing them visual information that they need to know. A clothesline will be on display at the event. Hanging on the clothesline will be a piece of clothing representing each child who died in North Carolina as a result of abuse or neglect in 2011 – 24 children ranging in age from 1 day old to 17 years old.
“We want them to realize that there’s children that die every year in this state as a result of abuse or neglect,” said Glover.
Saturday’s event will also include a demonstration, “reality baby,” to illustrate the impacts of shaken baby syndrome. When the baby, which has a clear head, is shaken, the areas of the brain affected by the shaking begin to light up, and the baby begins to cry.
“It’s very realistic. It helps you to see,” said Glover. Pachnar said that she was surprised to see that even a slight amount of shaking could cause brain damage to a baby.
Another demonstration will show parents how to position a baby in a crib for safe sleep to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). As Grimsley says, the event will be “educationally focused on safe and healthy kids.”
Entertainment is in store for event attendees, as well. Art in Motion, a local dance group, will perform at 11:30 a.m., following by a K-9 demonstration by the Tarboro Police Department.
Pachnar said that the free event, now in its fourth year, attracted at least 200 people last year.
In the case of inclement weather, Blue Ribbon Kidz Day will be cancelled.