Baby & Family Fair educates parents

Saturday’s fair had plenty of parents saying, “Oh baby.”

Pampers and pamphlets were aplenty at the Baby & Family Fair at Florida State University’s Turnbull Conference Center. The Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare-sponsored event granted the opportunity to learn about the resources, products and services for families making decisions about pregnancy, childbirth and raising a family.

Within the fair, children were invited to TMH’s Children’s Center Superhero Soiree, hosted by TMH Super Kids, Ace and Tally, with games, entertainment and fun for the whole family.

Cameron Garrett, a makeup artist for the Family Entertainers Guild, was hired by TMH to do face paintings for the fair.

“TMH hires us out for events all the time,” Garrett said. “This is a really great function that benefits the community, and it gets everyone moving around.”

But the fair wasn’t just about babies. Many entities from the Big Bend area provided information about issues that dealt with older children as well. TMH brought its neuroscience department, and the North Florida Women’s Care OB/GYN was present, along with providers of foster care.

Zandra Odum, dependency program director for the Children’s Home Society of Florida, experienced her first fair and was happy to enlighten guests with adoption information.

“Our adoption specialists work directly with the children, getting to know them so they get a sense of the type of family the child wants to be in,” Odum said. “We also work with parents who are looking to adopt a child.”

The fair also provided education with topics ranging from breast-feeding to exercising and diseases.

Chris Wells, a representative for the Sickle Cell Foundation, informed families about the sickle cell trait and disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sickle cell disease affects millions of people throughout the world. It’s particularly common among those whose ancestors came from sub-Saharan Africa, Spanish-speaking regions in the western hemisphere Saudi Arabia, India and Mediterranean countries.

“It really depends on the parents’ blood,” Wells said. “If the both parents have the sickle cell trait, then every child they have will carry the sickle cell trait. If only one parent has the trait, then there’s a 25 percent chance the child may carry the trait.”

The exact number of people living with sickle cell disease in the U.S. is unknown. The CDC reports sickle cell disease affects 90,000 to 100,000 Americans. The CDC also states that the sickle cell trait occurs in about one in 12 African-Americans.

Baby & Family Fair first-timer Rustin Forsythe, a social worker for Tallahassee Memorial Neuroscience Center, was delighted to share details about protecting a delicate organ in the body: the brain.

“What we’re focusing on is ‘Think First,’ ” Forsythe said. “It’s a program where we go into the schools and educate about the importance about protecting the brain.”

Forsythe said the No.1 one thing she tells her audience is to wear a helmet.

“It’s the biggest thing you can do to protect your brain and to be aware,” Forsythe said. “If you hit your head, go see a doctor and make sure there’s nothing that’s gone wrong. Also, if you’ve had a concussion, make sure to do a follow-up with your doctor.”