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Unique board game links families and puts 'Safety First'

By Lori Szepelak Correspondent EAST LONGMEADOW Retired educator Judith Cohen knows the importance of teaching children basic safety skills, and her daughter, Lauren Glassman of New York, took many of those safety principles and elevated them to a new level. For 10 years, Cohen has been her daughter's PR person, attending local craft shows and visiting day care centers to tout Glassman's Safety First board game. In her retirement, Cohen is an active member of the Springfield Zonta Club and the Exchange Club of Springfield, but her first love is selling the board game in the hope it saves the lives of others. During an interview with Reminder Publications, Cohen explained that the questions associated with the board game come from real-life situations. She noted that her daughter interviewed hundreds of children across the country and collaborated with lawyers, teachers, psychologists, police and firefighters to develop appropriate correct answers as well as believable common wrong answers to thoroughly address all issues. "Through Safety First, we are given the opportunity to actually see what our children would have done when placed in a decision-making situation," said Cohen. The game path meanders through the home, bus stop, shopping mall, neighborhood, school, playground and fire safety areas. "The questions range from everyday social situations to potentially life-threatening situations," she added. Cohen noted that Safety First provides adults and children an open forum to discuss situations that could be life threatening. What also makes the game unique is the specific set of adult questions which allows the child to learn about that person's childhood. Cohen said that when children are empowered with the proper responses and receive adult reinforcement, their lives will be safer. "The idea is to have fun while getting parents and children to talk together about what they would do if confronted by a stranger at the playground, or if somebody at school offered them 'special candy,'" said Cohen. Safety First is priced at $20 and is targeted for ages four and older. For more information on the board game, contact Cohen at 567-8176 or cohenjsc@comcast.net.

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