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Kids learn safety at annual health fair

The patient's arm suddenly shot up.

"Can I get off now?" he asked.

The student, one of the hundreds of PS 129 children who were exposed to lessons in health, fitness and safety that day as part of the school's annual health fair, was saved the trauma of a mock defibrillation (which would not have happened anyway).

But he, and all of his classmates, still learned a number of important lessons.

"I learned that you have to be safe around the pool, even if it's your own pool," said Alyssa Demonte, a fourth grader who is about to get an in-ground pool installed in her backyard.

Water safety was taught to children at an "aquatics" station; fitness was demonstrated with an exercise program in the gym; the importance of posture was imparted by a chiropractor's assistant in a classroom; and the world of emergency medical services was presented to children from the back of the College Point Volunteer Corps ambulance parked behind the school.

"I show them the spine and how it bends," Mary Tamm, a chiropractor's assistant, said. "If they start young, maybe they won't have some of the problems (later in life). I'm really relating it to how they sit in school."

In the gym, Flushing Y instructors led a jogging and jumping-jack session that nearly wore the kids out.

"I liked it because we got to run around, we didn't just have to sit there," Demonte said.

Her science teacher, Steven Radwan, said the lessons were for the children, as well as for their parents.

"We wanted to give to the community, to make them aware of fitness," Radwan said. "We are constantly doing something about health and the culmination of that is today."

Radwan said karate instructors came into the school to give a demonstration last Thursday, and a yoga teacher came to illustrate poses last week.

Demonte said karate "was cool" and that she liked yoga, too.

"It's important to be healthy or otherwise you could get sick," she said.

Radwan said she was an example of how the students will apply these lessons.

"Our school motto is 'children can,'" he said. "And it's proven, children can and they do."

Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

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