Pop music blasted at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center on Sunday, where about 1,200 children and their families strolled among 52 vendors who taught about health and provided children’s activities.

Hosted by Metroplex Health System, the 25th annual KidFest gave 300 free school-required vaccines to students from low-income families. Metroplex spokeswoman Pati Gonzalez-Thomas said 100 students were vaccinated by 2 p.m.

Two ambulances, a fire truck and a Metroplex mobile wellness unit were parked on the front driveway and open to curious explorers. Three bounce houses bumped with excitement as youth dance groups performed, and First Response Medical Training LLC offered free hearing and vision tests.

Hot car risks

Scott & White Injury Prevention Coordinator Susan Burchfield talked about the risks of sitting in hot cars. This year, 24 children nationwide, including three in Texas, died from heat and closed windows.

Dental assistants from Killeen oral surgeon Dr. Lavelle Ford’s office brought 576 oral hygiene bags, consisting of a toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, lip balm and an odor-fighting tongue scraper.

“We pull all the teeth,” said dental assistant Bianka Smith. “We want to prevent that.”

That’s no problem for Killeen resident Ian Chaderton, 9. He already brushes, flosses and eats healthy foods every day, he said.

When asked if he’ll go in the bounce house, he stroked his chin and said, “Maybe.”

He seemed more eager to go to a mat station set up by Bricks 4 Kidz, where children learned how to build Legos, sometimes sitting for up to 30 minutes, said the company’s Education Director Brittany Ross. Lego-building instills focus and teamwork in children, she said.

“They always work in partners,” Ross said. “The most important thing is critical thinking. (They learn to ask): ‘How else could I do it? How could I make it better?’”

Eat fruits, vegetables

Registered nurse and Juice Plus+ powder vendor Susan Trial communicated the fundamentals: Eat your fruits and vegetables, because they can save your life.

Contrary to some people’s belief, a heavy dose of Vitamin C isn’t as beneficial as the 8,000 micronutrients in fruits like apples, she said.

Only 8 percent of U.S. children eat the five to nine daily servings of fruits and vegetables they require.

Six-year-old Jourdan McNear said he likes grapes, oranges, pineapples and potatoes, and was glad he didn’t have to get shots.

“I don’t like needles,” he said. “I saw the fire truck, the ambulance. I got a magnet for it.”

Contact Brian Bradley at bbradley@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7567

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