FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker children helped the post kick off its month-long observance of National Child Abuse Prevention Month by giving Sgt. Ted E. Bear a new paint job April 1.

And while the children seemed to enjoy giving the post mascot a makeover, the cause they were helping raise awareness for is a sobering one when one absorbs the facts America faces when it comes to the mistreatment of many of its children, according to Joy McCormick, Army community Service New Parent Support Program home visitor and social worker.

Among those facts are that almost five children a day die because abuse and almost 700,000 children are victims of abuse annually, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Child Maltreatment Report of 2017 available at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/cm2017.pdf. And almost half of those children who die are under 1 year old.

Throughout April the post will host various activities in an effort to remind everyone stay alert, and if they see anything suspicious or any indicators of abuse to report it, McCormick said. "It is not their responsibility to investigate, and it is not their responsibility to jump in and save the family -- their responsibility is to report it and let the agency in charge do the investigating look into the situation and take care of it."

To report suspected abuse on post, call 255-2222; in Coffee County, call 334-348-2000; in Dale County, call 334-445-4900; and in Houston County, call 334-677-0400.

For more on Child Abuse Prevention Month, including signs of abuse and neglect, visit https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/.

The following are upcoming events for Child Abuse Prevention Month.

FAMILY GAME NIGHT

The ACS NPSP is partnering with Fort Rucker Youth Services to host a Family Game Night April 5 from 5-7 p.m. at the Fort Rucker Youth Center. The evening will host games for all ages. Each family participating will receive a new board game. For more details and to register, call 255-3898.

WEAR BLUE DAY

The color blue is nationally recognized for Child Abuse Prevention Month. Everyone is encouraged to show their support of Child Abuse Prevention Month by wearing blue every Friday throughout April. For more information, call 255-3898.

INFANT MASSAGE CLASS

ACS is offering a free infant massage class Tuesdays in April from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at The Commons. Beyond the joy of spending quality time bonding with a new baby, infant massage has been shown to provide many benefits to babies, their parents and to the rest of the family, according to NPSP officials. Expecting parents are also welcome to attend. The class is recommended for parents of children ages birth to pre-crawling. Registration is limited to 10 participants. Deadline to register is April 5.

For more information or register, call 255-3359 or 255-9805.

STROLLER PARADE

NPSP will host a stroller parade during the Fort Rucker Fun Run and Resiliency Fair April 13 at 8 a.m. People are invited to decorate their strollers before participating in the 5k. Trophies will be awarded to the three most creative strollers and ribbons will be given to the first 100 children who participate in the fun run.

THE GREATEST GIFT

Children require a lot of supervision and care, which demands a lot of their caregivers. Those caregivers are invited to join NPSP for its class, The Greatest Gift: Taking Care of Yourself, April 18 at 10 a.m. at the Center Library, and May 16 at 10 a.m. at The Commons, Bldg. 8950. The class teaches people to care for themselves while still caring for their families. Find out what causes stress and different ways to manage it. Pre-registration is required the Friday before each class. The event is open to all authorized patrons.

For more information, call 255-9647 or 255-3359.