WEST DES MOINES, Iowa - For 41 years, the West Des Moines Police Department has welcomed kids across the Metro to Safety Town. It's a place where pre-kindergarten-aged children - you guessed it - learn about all things safety.
"It's interesting because now we have parents who went through Safety Town years ago bringing their kids to it," said Officer Matthew McCarty. "So, it's very effective."
Officer McCarty says, for the most part, the general rules of safety across the board are the same today as they were 40 years ago. However, due to the digital age, and kids' frequent access to the Internet, he says some lessons have been added or emphasized in recent years to educate young children on potential dangers.
"Kids are becoming more independent with each generation," Officer McCarty said. "Things like Internet safety are coming up more in our camp than before."
A week-long class offered four times per summer, Safety Town teaches kids everything from pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle safety, poison, electrical, and other at-home risks, as well as newer threats on digital and mobile platforms.
About 60 kids are experiencing Safety Town in this third week of the summer program. Next week, no classes will be held due to the holiday. However, on July 6, a fourth class will kick off. Spaces are still available, and you don't have to be a resident of West Des Moines to sign your child up. You can do that on the West Des Moines Community Schools Community Education page.