By Kevin Kelley
The impulsiveness young children sometimes exhibit can be dangerous in traffic or a busy parking lot, says Sarah Rintamaki, founder and executive director of Connecting for Kids, a local organization for parents who have concerns about their child’s development.
To help keep kids safe, the organization has launched a parking lot safety awareness campaign. Central to the campaign is a kit being offered free to parents.
The kit includes a booklet on traffic safety and a magnet parents can place on their car door when the child exits. The idea is for the child to place his or her hand on the magnet until an adult can safely give assistance.
The magnet features an image of a star. That’s because STAR is the acronym for the four steps in parking lot safety children are asked to follow – Stop, Touch, Attention and Ready.
The magnet, intended to be a visual a child can focus on, can be a helpful device for a parent with several children on a shopping trip, Rintamaki said.
Connecting for Kids is launching its parking lot safety awareness campaign at its Meet and Greet event today from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Don Umerley Civic Center in the Rocky River City Hall complex at 21016 Hilliard Blvd.
Magnet kits will be handed out at today’s event. Those unable to attend can order a kit at no cost from the organization’s website, www.connectingforkids.org.
Rintamaki said the organization came up with the idea for the magnet after a child from one of its 1,400 member families was slightly injured by a vehicle in a parking lot last summer.
She said the magnet is designed for all young children, but may be especially beneficial for children with an increased tendency for impulsiveness due to a developmental disorder, such as autism.
In addition to launching the parking lot safety campaign, today’s Connecting for Kids event is a resource fair for parents featuring 70 pediatric professional organizations that offer a variety of services, from counseling to academic services to adoptive recreation programs.