PARIS — The local Kiwanis Club partnered with the Oxford Hills Rotary Club to host a free community event Saturday that was “all about children’s safety and community service.”
The event at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School has been held annually for 25 years, said Diana McLaughlin, co-president of the Norway-Paris Kiwanis Club.
The Kiwanis club, a nationwide organization dedicated to serving children and promoting safety and education, bought bike helmets to give to all attending children, and informational literature and puzzles. McLaughlin said the group gives out at least 100 helmets at the May Day Play Day event each year.
Those who brought their bikes, and those who did not, could practice their hand signals and how to look for cars, on the bike rodeo course, a series of cones and curves in the parking lot.
Instructors waited at designated stations, showing the youngsters how to signal a stop, a left or right turn, and the importance of “stop, look and listen.”
Safety-conscious guardians could get their little ones’ car seats inspected, and learn tips from PACE paramedics on how to avoid injury.
Sawyer Coleman, who has been inspecting car seats for about six years, said snacks and drinks are discouraged, not only because of a choking hazard, but because any object in the car can become a dangerous projectile in the event of an accident.
“If you have a one-pound water bottle and you get in an accident going 30 mph, that water bottle is going to hit with 30 pounds of force,” Coleman said.
For a child who weighs about the same, the impact would be significant.
Coleman also said in the event of an accident, if the air bags go off or the vehicle has to be towed, the seat belts and the car seat would have to be replaced.
Inside the high school, children could get their faces painted, climb ropes, swing on tires, jump in the bounce house and snack on popcorn, courtesy of the Rotary club.
Vickie Morrissette of Norway said they will “absolutely” attend next year’s May Day.
“We did almost everything,” said Morrissette, who was there with her twin children, Hannah and Abigail, 3, and her twin sister’s twins, Morgan and Liam Lessard, also 3.
Leo Annis, 4, of Rumford, swings through the tire course while his family watches, at the May Day Play Day event at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School on Saturday, organized by the Norway-Paris Kiwanis Club. (Liz Marquis/Sun Journal)
Kiwanis Club member Vicki Merrill fits Samuel Cornish, 4, of Norway, with a free bike helmet during the May Day Play Day event at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School on Saturday, organized by the Norway-Paris Kiwanis Club.
Hannah Morrissette, Morgan Lessard, Abigail Morrissette and Liam Lessard, all 3 years old, of Norway, rest on a bench during the May Day Play Day event at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School on Saturday, organized by the Norway-Paris Kiwanis club. Twins Hannah and Abigail Morrissette are the daughters of Vickie Morrissette, and twins Liam and Morgan Lessard are the children of her twin sister. (Liz Marquis/Sun Journal)
Greyson Hart, 3, of South Paris, rides the bike rodeo course with his mother, Andrea, at the May Day Play Day event Saturday at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, organized by the Norway-Paris Kiwanis club. (Liz Marquis/Sun Journal)