New Hanover County hosts pre-k health fair

New Hanover County hosts pre-k health fair
Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 6:33 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Plenty of questions run through a parent’s mind when their child starts school, that’s why health officials in New Hanover County want to make sure families have their bases covered before the first day.

The New Hanover County Health and Human Services pre-k health fair was for pre-k students and their parents. You may wonder why preschoolers need a health fair, but this young demographic often sees health problems that can go unnoticed. The health fair allowed parents to get vital screenings for their kids.

Screenings like eye exams, speech delays, signs of autism and a delay in fine motor skills are all vital assessments for children that are 2 and 3 years old. Colleen Applewhite, a child health immunization coordinator said checkups are vital for a child’s success.

“Early intervention is a proven way of getting kids ready to be in school and to get them healthy for their school career so that they can be on par with their peers by the time they are in elementary school,” said Applewhite.

Applewhite said that if children are not brought to the doctors, certain health concerns can be missed. She encourages parents to not wait until kindergarten to begin yearly checkups and exams.

“We check to see if they know their name if they know if they are a boy or a girl. We see if they know how to hold a pencil, we check their height and weight to make sure that they are growing every year.”

The fair also had dozens of other booths that educated parents on everything from mental health resources, and food supplies. Parents were able also to get eye exams for their children.

However, the fair wasn’t solely focused on health guidelines and exams. Car seat safety checks were also available. Officials say that not having your child’s car seat in properly can make a life or death difference. They say with these pre-K children getting rides to school having the proper car seat is essential.

“Having a car seat and having the correct car seat is tremendously important. Unfortunately, we have been seeing an increase in the amount of car crash fatalities, and car crashes are the leading cause of unintentional death in children from ages, 1 to 13. While that is a sad statistic there are things we can do to help prevent that,” said Matthew McVey, health educator with New Hanover County Health and Human Services.

McVey also says that you can perform the pinch and inch test on your child’s car seat. Pinch the harness of the car seat to make sure no extra slag comes up, then make sure the car seat cannot move more than 1 inch from the seat belt patch.

Parents and caregivers can also check the expiration dates on car seats. McVey also said that checking the age, height and weight requirements for car seats can help save lives.

Yvette Robinson attended the fair with her granddaughter. Robinson was able to ensure she had the proper car seat and take advantage of all the resources the fair had to offer.

Robinson said she wants to do all she can to help her granddaughter prepare for pre-k and ensure she has a successful future.

“Make sure they are prepared to go to school and get everything they may need for the future.