Hundreds Attend Annual Event Aimed at Keeping Kids Safe - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Hundreds Attend Annual Event Aimed at Keeping Kids Safe

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A report of child abuse is made once every ten seconds in the United States.

It's the kind of child safety concerns a two-decade-old event in Grand Island aims to prevent.

Among the games and activities of Children's Day was a serious message aimed at preventing child abuse.

"What do they do if their kids are acting up in certain situations? Two-year-olds like to bite so parents never know what to do; and some of us grew up if we bite, we got bit. But no, that's not ok," said LaDonna Obermiller, youth advocacy educator at the Grand Island Crisis Center.

At the Fonner Park event Sunday, the information was there for all parents.

"Abusers don't walk around with a tattoo on their head that says, I abuse. It's anybody," said Obermiller. "Sometimes cases that we work with at the Crisis Center, it might only be a physical one time event."

Experts say activities as simple as reading to your kids can help prevent abuse.

"[We teach] being patient and being encouraging and supportive and also the bonding with your child. When you've got a bond with your child you're less likely to abuse that child," said Heather Cline Ford, Association for Child Abuse Prevention vice president.

Kids also got a lesson in staying safe and healthy at the event.

Dametree Kirkman learned getting a check-up isn't so scary by taking his toy to the teddy bear clinic.

His father, Brady, wanted another lesson taught.

"We took him over to the State Patrol and it really showed him the difference - when they were rotating that car - and the importance of wearing that seatbelt," said Kirkman, who also heads the Child Advocacy Center.

Kids seemed to be getting the message as Trooper Jason Bauer spun a truck with a dummy inside.

"Put on your seatbelt," said Victoria Isele, 8.

More than 500 children heard the message in the event's 20th year. Organizers can only hope that's making a difference.

"We're reaching families every year and that's a big deal," said Cline Ford.

If you suspect child abuse or neglect, call the Nebraska Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-652-1999.

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