Support our mission
 
Cody Bergen, left, and Bryan Acosta, 11, ask questions during a Risk Watch water safety class at Naples Elementary School.
Cody Bergen, left, and Bryan Acosta, 11, ask questions during a Risk Watch water safety class at Naples Elementary School. (Kendra Helmer / S&S)

NAPLES, Italy — Naples elementary pupils are learning how to prevent injuries.

For the first time at Naples Elementary School, a program called Risk Watch is bringing in experts to teach kids how to avoid hazards.

“It’s easier to prevent than to go in and fix somebody after they’ve been hurt,” said Larry Beal, Naples fire inspector.

As program coordinator, he arranges for safety experts to talk about eight risk areas that kill or disable children.

In the States, accidents are more fatal to children than drugs and disease combined, annually killing more than 5,500 kids and permanently disabling more than 92,000, according to the National Fire Protection Association. It developed the program, aimed at pre-kindergartners through eighth-graders.

Beal said the classroom materials, which cost about $2,500, cover topics to include choking and suffocation, fire prevention, as well as gun, bicycle and vehicle safety.

The nine-week pilot program started in Naples in February. Next year the program will be yearlong.

Debbie Moors, Naval Support Activity Naples aquatics director, recently taught sixth-graders water safety. They watched a video on how to avoid boating and swimming injuries.

Though the kids giggled at the cheesy rhymes in the video (such as “Don’t just pack it, wear your jacket”) they paid attention and asked several questions.

“I learned how to save [drowning] people, not to go after them, call for help,” said 12-year-old Julian Johnson.

Moors modifies the lessons for each age group; for kindergarten through fourth grades, she dresses up like a lifeguard.

“Kids are getting so cynical and jaded by fifth grade, you have to tailor the program and have a little bit more discussion,” she said.

A group of sharp second-graders picked up on a blunder in the boating portion of the video.

“They said, ‘How come the daddy’s not wearing a life jacket?’” Moors laughed.

Migrated

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up