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'Don't Fry Day' teaches sun safety at Perrysburg pool

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    Lifeguard Sonja Schroeder keeps vigil as children played in the municipal pool and learned about sun safety.

    The Blade/Andy Morrison
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    Perrysburg children, from left, Natalie French, 9, Megan Gibbs, 9, Lauren Swartz, 10 and Reagan Wilkinson, 8, are quizzed on which hat provides the best protection from the sun as they learn the basics of sun safety around the municipal pool.

    The Blade/Andy Morrison
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    Summer recreation department staff worker Kristen Woods paints a sunblock design on a girls hand as children learn the basics of sun safety.

    The Blade/Andy Morrison
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CTY-Don-tFryPoolDay13

Lifeguard Sonja Schroeder keeps vigil as children played in the municipal pool and learned about sun safety.

The Blade/Andy Morrison
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Loud shouts of “False!” and “Sunblock!” could be heard across the Perrysburg Municipal Pool on sunny Friday afternoon -- or rather, Fry Day afternoon.

Several tents lined along the covered tables of colored wheels, sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats, and beads as dripping-wet children fresh from the pool ran over to learn about sun safety. 

Judy Hagen, the Perrysburg Litter Prevention & Recycling coordinator, planned the pool‘‍s “Don’‍t Fry Day,” with the help of the Jim McMorgan, the director of Perrysburg Summer Recreation.

At each tent, children could learn “about the sun and its effects on the body,” said Mr. McMorgan. “We tried to make it fun.” 

CTY-Don-tFryPoolDay13-1

Perrysburg children, from left, Natalie French, 9, Megan Gibbs, 9, Lauren Swartz, 10 and Reagan Wilkinson, 8, are quizzed on which hat provides the best protection from the sun as they learn the basics of sun safety around the municipal pool.

The Blade/Andy Morrison
Enlarge | Buy This Image

It certainly looked like fun. Employees of Perrysburg Summer Recreation spun a large colorful wheel with true and false questions about sun safety attached, while the children excitedly yelled their guesses. Another station had a Jeopardy board set up with questions about what everyone can do to protect themselves from the sun. 

Playing on the “Fry Day” theme, the children received a bowl of veggie fries as a prize for answering questions and taking part in the games.

Children also participated in a relay comprised of sun safety measures following the “slip, slop, slap, and wrap” method, said Tori Plummer, a city summer recreation employee. Participants ran through the relay to rapidly slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat, and wrap on a pair of sunglasses. 

The final tent gave children a chance to see the sun damage they had already developed. Representatives from the Ohio State University extension of education for family and consumer sciences had two DermaScan machines set up. These machines use UV from a black-light and a mirror to show people the extent of freckling and damage that the face has undergone, which cannot be seen with the naked eye. 

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Summer recreation department staff worker Kristen Woods paints a sunblock design on a girls hand as children learn the basics of sun safety.

The Blade/Andy Morrison
Enlarge | Buy This Image

One of the Ohio State representatives, Susan Zies, said, “Everyone is different depending on skin type, how much protection they use, whether they stay out in the hottest part of the day.” The machine reveals which parts of the face are the most damaged so that people can be more careful covering those areas in the future. 

One young participant, Natalie French, was pretty happy with her results. 

“It was cool because my face was kinda glowing but there weren't many freckles, so that‘‍s good,” she said. Children lined up one after another to see their faces under the light and boast about their skills in using sun protection and lack of freckles. 

Jennifer Gibbs, whose son and daughter went through all the  stations, was happy her children had the chance to learn more about the harmful effects of the sun. She said, “It‘‍s a fantastic idea. And it’‍s a good way for kids to get to know the rec staff before the recreation programs start next week.” 

Friday was Perrysburg‘‍s first ever “Don’‍t Fry Day,” but with the apparent success of the day, it is likely not the last. 

Contact Kathleen Ashcraft at: kashcraft@theblade.com or 419-724-6050. 

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