April 2, 2004 – Safety is a factor in good health, and the Police and Health Departments are joining together to point up that fact in observance of World Health Day, which is Wednesday.
Actually, the departments are planning events throughout the coming week and farther into April.
Monday has been designated Community Awareness Day at the Motor Vehicle Bureau on St. John. Presentations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. will cover seat belt use, child passenger safety, pedestrian safety, alcohol awareness and bicycle safety.
Although many people may not be aware of it, "you have to wear a helmet on a bicycle," Barbara McIntosh, Office of Highway Safety administrator, said. "It's the law."
It's also the law that motorists and their front-seat passengers have to wear seat belts.
Noting recent accidents involving pedestrians and motor vehicles, McIntosh said pedestrian safety is of great importance. When such an accident occurs, "it's often an error in judgment on both parts," she said.
She said that her office will be launching a television campaign to stress pedestrian safety.
On Tuesday, it will be Community Awareness Day on St. Thomas, with activities planned from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Emancipation Garden. The topics to be addressed are the same as for St. John, plus there will be health screening.
On Wednesday, St. Croix's Community Awareness Day activities will take place from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. at Sunny Isle Shopping Center, covering the same topics as on St. John.
For pregnant women who have attended monthly Child Passenger Workshops held by the Highway Safety Office, there will be a demonstration at Sunny Isle of how to install a child safety seat in a vehicle. "It's not one, two, three," McIntosh said, referring to the complexity of proper installation.
She said that if a mother cannot afford to buy a child safety seat, one will be provided.
McIntosh also said the Police Department will step up patrols on the lookout for people who are driving without seat belts and while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
From April 19 through 23, the Highway Safety Office will make "Buckle Bear" presentations at daycare centers throughout the territory. McIntosh said children at the centers will get to practice fastening the seat belt of a big stuffed bear so they learn how to do it properly.
On Monday, the Health Department will hold a conference for employees at Palms Court Harbourview on St. Thomas. The topic is "Eliminating Health Disparities: Moving from Statistics to Solutions."
On Wednesday, Health employees on St. Thomas and St. Croix will take part in a walk-a-thon.
The department's Division of Mental Health will continue to conduct "Driving Under the Influence" counseling sessions in April. Motorists convicted of driving under the influence are required to attend the sessions, McIntosh said.
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