FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — On Friday, 729 pinwheels spun on the CARE House of the Pee Dee’s front lawn, each representing a child the center helped last year.

“The blue pinwheel is the national symbol for child abuse prevention,” said Meg Temple, the center’s executive director. “Blue was chosen because it is the color of bruises. The pinwheel- if you think about a kid who is playing with a pinwheel, it is the idea of a carefree childhood, which is what every child deserves.”

The CARE House of the Pee Dee, a children’s advocacy center that offers services like forensic interviews, medical exams and therapy to children who have been abused, aims to raise awareness with a new project.

According to the National Children’s Alliance, around 700,000 children are abused every year- that’s 1% of children nationwide.

Friday marked the first day of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

This year, the center is giving others the chance to bring home a pinwheel garden of their own for the first time. Packages cost $100 and contains 50 pinwheels and a yard sign about Child Abuse Prevention Month. Temple hopes they will spark conversations.

“We want people to talk about this because bad stuff can’t grow in the light, it can only grow in the dark,” Temple said. “If we can have these conversations when we see these gardens, that will fit our goal.”

She said it is especially important to talk about child abuse now, because the pandemic may have limited contact between abused children and trusted adults.

“Kids who are getting school at home are not having someone look over them and know what is going on,” Temple said.

She stressed the importance of looking out for the signs of child abuse and reaching out when they’re spotted. Some of those signs include bruises, regressive behaviors like bed-wetting and advanced sexual knowledge at a young age.

“Reaching out to law enforcement where the event happened or the DSS where the child lives, those would be the two places where you would make those reports,” she said.

Temple said more than 40 pinwheel gardens have been sold so far. The last day to place an order is April 8. They can be ordered here.