Even though they are young, a group of children showed that they knew the importance of safety at home and on the job.

The Rock Island Arsenal hosted its 2nd annual Children Safety Poster contest July 29. Children and grandchildren of RIA employees were invited to draw what they thought were important safety issues on paper that were later blown up into a 2-foot by 3-foot poster.

"The safety poster concept was started by my predecessors a few years ago and we have taken the idea and expanded upon it," said RIA Safety Director, Scott Nelson. "It is a really great program to make children think about safety."

Fifteen children ranging in ages from 4-years-old to 13-years-old entered the contest. The children's imaginations were on full display at the cookout and award ceremony.

"It really amazes me that children so young can conceptualize some of the machines we have in the factory and draw safety posters that really point out real issues," said Nelson.

Second grader Connor Flinn, son of Director of Science and Engineering Edward Flinn, understands the importance of safety around big machines that are used to produce equipment to support the Warfighter.

"There are big machines, like crunching machines, that can really hurt your fingers," Connor said. "You have to be real careful and always think safe."

Children also wrote about off-duty safety issues as well. Second grader Keaira Swanson, daughter of RIA Protocol Officer Patricia Swanson, developed a poster that illustrated the importance of staying with your parent when shopping.

"When I'm shopping with my mom, it is really important to stay with my mom," Keaira said. "That way mom doesn't have to worry about someone trying to take me."

The award ceremony was kicked off by a tour of the factory. Children were able to see the many manufacturing capabilities of RIA which is the only fully integrated metal manufacturing in DOD. After the tour, they were served hot dogs and hamburgers at Memorial Park and were given a certificate and gift bag from Deputy Commander, Mike Bunch.

"This is a great program and I am very impressed with the talent these children have," said Bunch. "I can tell our employees are focusing on safety because those ideas are being shown through their kids."

The poster contest is also a part of an initiative to improve safety throughout RIA. "The children's poster is a good example of how we are integrating employee involvement in our workplace activities," Nelson said. "This complements our pursuit of the Voluntary Protection Program. One set of the posters are displayed in a place in a high pedestrian traffic area in building 211, the 2nd set is displayed in the work area of the proud parent or grandparent."