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Make it a safe summer

Making more than a guest appearance, the sun has frequented Kitsap County on a regular basis, a sign that spring is here and a time for children to play outdoors.

To promote helmet and life jacket safety for both children and adults this summer, the local chapter of Safe Kids Worldwide which joined forces with local businesses and fire stations, is celebrating spring and summer recreational activities by hosting a life jacket and bike helmet sale. The sale is 3-6 p.m. today at various locations across the county, including Silverdale locations at Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue Station 51 on Silverdale Way, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital on Myhre Road and at the Child Development Center at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.

Most agencies will welcome a donation of $7 for helmets and $12 for life jackets.

“Accidental injuries happen more during the summer than any other time of the year,” said North Kitsap Fire & Rescue Spokeswoman Michele Laboda. “People are outside and more active.”

Laboda said one of the main advantages of the county-wide sale is children and their parents will receive a customized fitting of their helmets and life jackets to assure they are being used properly.

“In order for a helmet to do it’s work to protect the brain, it needs to be fitted properly,” Laboda said. “(With) life jackets, you have to make sure the child’s weight doesn’t exceed the life jacket’s buoyancy.”

Although children are increasingly wearing helmets, according to Laboda, the No. 2 cause of death in children younger than 14 is biking accidents.

Paired with the necessity for proper fit in helmets is the proper fit in life jackets. For most young children, a safety harness runs underneath the jacket to help keep it from riding under the chin. However, if a life jacket is too large it can obstruct a child’s airway, creating more harm than good.

“It’s very important that people are onsite to get appropriately fitted,” said Theresa MacLennan, spokeswoman for Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue. “We don’t just give these items away.”

MacLennan added that CKFR will have ongoing helmet fittings throughout the year, and people can call (360) 447-3550 anytime to make an appointment.

Bike helmet and life jacket fitting locations:

• North Kitsap Fire & Rescue in Kingston, 26642 Miller Bay Road NE

• Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue Station 51 in Silverdale, 10955 Silverdale Way NW

• Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and Health Center in Silverdale, 1780 NW Myhre Road, Suite G220

• Kitsap County Traffic Safety Task Force in Port Orchard

• South Kitsap Fire & Rescue, Station 31, Tremont Avenue

• Kitsap County Health District in downtown Bremerton

• Lobby of the Norm Dicks Government Center, 345 Sixth Street, Bremerton

• Jackson Park Child Development Center, 90 Olding Road in Bremerton

• NBK-Bangor Child Development Center – Military families only

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