TURLOCK — From teddy bear clinics to glaucoma testing, about 3,000 people on Saturday got a healthy dose of helpful information on preventing serious medical problems at Medic- Alert's Community Health and Safety Fair.
The goal was to create a concerted community effort to raise public awareness of preventive care that can keep people healthy and help them avoid serious medical problems.
"These sort of events achieve that objective," said Brian Lange, a spokesman for MedicAlert.
The MedicAlert Foundation is best known for the bracelets that tell first responders about patients' medical conditions.
The health and safety fair offered screenings for blood pressure and cholesterol, healthy living demonstrations, nutrition and cooking demonstrations, public safety awareness and entertainment.
Fair attendees, such as Carrie Lang of Turlock, climbed into the Lions Clubs International mobile medical clinic to have their vision and hearing tested. The mobile clinic makes stops everywhere, including schools, to offer free checkups.
"We get low-income families who can't afford to go to the optometrist," said Terry Anderson of Lions Clubs International.
This year's crowd was about a thousand people larger than last year, the first time the event was held. With such a big turnout, Lange believes it's likely the fair will come back to Turlock next year.
The number of educational booths at the fair also grew this year with 120 of them sprawled across MedicAlert's lawn and parking lot along Colorado Avenue. There were 70 booths last year.
There were some fun activities for children, too, such as the teddy bear clinic. Michael Long, 5, and Ariana Saetern-Whitman, 10, were among the children who brought their bears for examination.
More than 600 attendees walked through Emanuel Medical Center's heart tunnel, where they could participate in an interactive quiz about various aspects of the human heart.
"You're going to learn about how the heart works, the symptoms of a heart attack and how to stay heart healthy," said Pam Parker, a customer service manager at the hospital's booth.
She said the purpose of the interactive heart display is to promote simple tips that can help prevent a heart attack, such as lower salt intake, no smoking, a balanced diet, exercise and stress management.
American Medical Response paramedic Robert Parker demonstrated how the stair-chair works for Sandy Lao, 17, of Merced and her friends. The chair allows paramedics to more easily move a patient down a flight of stairs.
"That way we don't have to carry them on a gurney down the stairs," Parker said. "It's much safer this way."
Turlock police, with help from Modesto police and the California Highway Patrol, inspected child safety seats to see if they were the right size for the child and installed properly. They provided more than 20 inspections and replaced 12 child safety seats for free.
"Our goal is to make sure that every kid is in a good car seat properly secured," said CHP officer Eric Parsons.
The seats that needed to be replaced Saturday were outdated or had been involved in crashes, said Turlock police Sgt. Neil Cervenka. He said parents sometimes are not aware seats can be worn out or damaged in a crash.
"Maybe in that next accident, (the child safety seat) won't work," Cervenka said. "Like motorcycle helmets, you only use it in one crash."
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2394.