Ben­ton parks posts food al­lergy warn­ing signs

The Saline Courier Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Dana Guthrie

The Ben­ton Parks and Recre­ation De­part­ment has added food al­lergy warn­ing signs at all their lo­cal play­grounds af­ter a re­quest from a lo­cal par­ent.

“I have been over­whelmed with the pos­i­tive feed­back on so­cial me­dia,” said Ben­ton Parks and Recre­ation Direc­tor Stephanie Jones. “I even re­ceived an email yes­ter­day from the Parks Direc­tor in Og­den, New York, about im­ple­ment­ing these signs. A simple re­quest that has had a pos­i­tive im­pact al­ready.”

Jones said the de­ci­sion to add the signs was made af­ter lo­cal res­i­dent Tay­lor Par­sons con­tacted the de­part­ment.

“I re­ceived an email from a par­ent in the com­mu­nity who has a child with a lifethreat­en­ing food al­lergy,” Jones said. “Af­ter do­ing some re­search, there are more peo­ple with food al­ler­gies than I re­al­ized and they are most com­mon in young chil­dren. (Par­sons) was brave enough to step up and make a re­quest. She is not only ad­vo­cat­ing for her child, but for oth­ers in Saline County.”

There are cur­rently nine signs that will be lo­cated at all of the

de­part­ment’s lo­cal play­grounds and the splash pad.

“Most of our play­grounds are ad­ja­cent to pav­il­ions and pic­nic ar­eas so it was ideal to place them there,” Jones said. “Cur­rently we are not look­ing to add ad­di­tional lo­ca­tions, un­less we feel there is a need.”

The cost for the signs was $250 and was paid for through the de­part­ment’s sig­nage bud­get.

Ac­cord­ing to Jones, the signs help bring aware­ness to the is­sue and will help ed­u­cate peo­ple who might not re­al­ize the dan­gers of food al­ler­gies.

The signs de­tail the fact that one in 13 chil­dren have food al­ler­gies and that pa­trons can help limit pos­si­ble exposure with two simple steps–only eat­ing in the pic­nic area and clean­ing hands af­ter eat­ing.

“Hope­fully these signs will bring aware­ness to many more and give par­ents who have chil­dren with lifethreat­en­ing food al­ler­gies peace of mind that their chil­dren can play safely in their lo­cal parks,” Jones said.

Spe­cial to the Courier

The Ben­ton Parks and Recre­ation De­part­ment has in­stalled food al­lergy warn­ing signs at all their lo­cal parks and the splash pad in or­der to alert vis­i­tors about the dan­gers of food al­ler­gies.

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