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Free health checks available for kids

Various services will help prepare children for the new school year.

Free school physicals, eye, dental and spinal exams, hearing screenings, immunizations and more will be offered at the sixth annual Children's Health Fair, "Highlight on Health," on Saturday at the Long Center, 1501 Belcher Road.

From 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., area doctors, dentists and other medical personnel, as well as more than 200 volunteers, will offer the services for children _ grades kindergarten through 12th grade _ who will be starting school this month. Immunizations will include the hepatitis B shots required for incoming seventh-graders. Also, children can be fingerprinted and videotaped so their parents will have records if their children are ever abducted or missing.

Event chairman Dale Tindall said organizers expect to be busy, considering school opens soon.

"Last year, we were overwhelmed with the number of children wanting school physicals. Over 500 were performed and 75 children were still waiting at closing time," he said. "This year, we'll have additional doctors available, so the lines won't be so long."

In addition to the free health screenings, the fair will feature clowns, magicians, puppet shows, an appearance by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office helicopter and free refreshments.

Started by Tindall and fellow members of the Springtime City Kiwanis Club, the annual event is now supported by various other service organizations such as Rotary, Sertoma, Civitan, Lions and other Kiwanis clubs, plus the Pinellas County Health Department and Morton Plant Mease Health Care.

No reservations are necessary. The Long Center is on Belcher Road between NE Coachman and Sunset Point Roads. For additional information, call 725-7549.