Health Fair Hosting Free Eye Testing, State Police 'Convincer'

Published: September 20, 2018 at 09:12 am


As organizers prepare for the 25th Annual Health and Public Safety Fair, Saturday, September 22, at the Reed Intermediate School, they have announced the addition of the Connecticut State Police as special guests.

Co-chair and exhibitor Dr Della Schmid told The Newtown Bee that the State Police will be bringing the “Convincer” and a rollover simulator as a component of the fair’s public safety outreach between 9 am and 1 pm.

The Seat Belt Convincer is an educational tool that allows riders to experience force, up to five times their body weight, similar to that of a five to ten mile-per-hour crash. The Convincer was developed to educate the general public of how beneficial the use of seat belts can be even when involved in a low speed collision.

According to its manufacturer, a “passenger” enters the carriage at the top of the slide and buckles into the seat. The operator, in this case a trained CSP trooper, then releases the carriage and gravity pulls the carriage forward reaching a speed of approximately five miles per hour before colliding with the bumpers at the front of the system.

The Convincer allows the rider to experience the surprising amount of force generated with such a low speed collision and to gain respect for the benefit that a seat belt can provide.

The Rollover Demonstrator simulates a 35 mph rollover crash, as the audience observes the results of crash test dummies not being properly restrained. The dummies are then buckled in for a second simulation demonstrating the importance of wearing safety belts in a vehicle.

Steve Bennett of the Newtown Lions Club also reached out to The Bee to remind Health Fair goers and residents who are parents or caregivers to younger children, that the club will be performing important eye screenings at the event in partnership with the Newtown VNA.

He said 2018 marks the fifth year the two groups will be jointly conducting pediatric eye screening in Newtown.

“The Newtown VNA has been doing eye screenings with the local preschools for a long time, using charts and visual aids that required responses from the child to detect vision problems,” Mr Bennett explained. “Five years ago, the Lions Club introduced a computerized handheld vision screening device that could quickly and easily detect vision issues on patients from 6 months of age through adult. A partnership was begun combining the Lions Club technology with the VNA’s excellent working relationship with the town’s pre-schools.”

He said the camera-like device just needs the individual to look into the lens for a fraction of a second.

“It is quick, painless, and incredibly efficient in detecting a wide range of vision problems,” Mr Bennett said. “Where a potential vision problem is detected, test results are printed out and the individual is advised to visit a licensed optometrist.”

He said the benefit of conducting eye exams for children as young as pre-school is in catching problems that may not be obvious to parents. Vision develops between birth and 9 years of age and early detection is critical in starting corrective procedures.

“Also, this year the state of Connecticut has mandated eye screening for the lower grades in the public schools with the VNA and the Lions Club volunteers planning to conduct the required testing at no cost to the taxpayer,” he said. “In anticipation of the expanded testing for the public schools, the VNA, thanks to a generous donation, purchased the devise we will be using.”

Eye screening will be not only available free to individuals of any age at the Newtown Health Fair Saturday September 22, but also on Saturday, October 20, at the Lions Club Pumpkin Race held behind Edmond Town Hall from 10 am to 2 pm, conducted by the VNA and the Lions in the VNA Thrift store.

Children can enjoy the Health Fair’s first-ever “Fun Course” in the Reed School gymnasium, said Health Fair Co-Chair and Health District Director Donna Culbert.

“The Fun Course has been put together by Janet Merrifield, a pediatric Physical Therapist Assistant; Donna Moxham of Garage Girls Fitness; and Mia Ramey of Gift of Gab; as well as Anna LaBanca and Newtown High School students from REACH,” Ms Culbert said.

The course will offer a variety of stations of age-appropriate physical activities for children from toddler to middle school age.

Residents are invited to experience interactive demonstrations and wellness treatments. There are numerous free drawings, gift certificates to many of Newtown’s restaurants and eateries to honor Family Day, and promotions from many of our local businesses.


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