Members of USP’s student chapter of the Pennsylvania Society of Health-System Pharmacists (PSHP) recognized Poison Prevention Week (March 16-22) with a visit to the Parent Infant Center on Monday, March 17. At the Center, located on 42nd and Spruce Streets, the students taught the pre-school children about the dangers of poisons, and used fun and creative games to help them identify poisons and other harmful household items, including medications.
Sponsored by the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the theme of this year’s Poison Prevention Week was “Children act fast…so do poisons!” With that in mind, five USP students from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy taught 40 of the Parent Infant Center’s children lessons on poison safety and played a “recognition of poisons” game wherein children designated poisons with Mr. Yuk® stickers. The stickers are especially helpful because they provide a clear warning sign to children who are too young to read product labels. The PSHP is part of the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP), and supports pharmacists and pharmacy students who help create awareness of poison prevention.
USP students, Brandon Shank PharmD’11, Kuang-Chih Hsieh PharmD’10, Quan Hua PharmD’10, Jennifer Roby PharmD’09, and Laura Samide PharmD’11, all members of PSHP, participated in the visit to the Center. Shank, with the help of PSHP members, organized the educational event in coordination with Matthew Land, clinical assistant professor in the department of pharmacy practice and pharmacy administration and former director of a poison control center.
Land and the students also provided the children’s parents and guardians with informational pamphlets and stickers from the Poison Control Center at the University of Pittsburgh to allow them to continue poison awareness education at home. The parents were instructed to continue working with their children to reinforce the association that Mr. Yuck® means “no,” and to place the stickers on poisonous substances with their children throughout their homes. The students concluded the lesson by reciting a poem with the children to remind them that although it may look and smell good, before they taste it, “ask if I should!”
Parents must be mindful of the products and medications they have in their homes, keeping these hazards out of children’s reach and teaching them about the dangers associated with these items.
For more information on how to keep your children protected from the dangers of household poisons and medications, please see the following tips:
1.) Keep all household chemical products and medicines (especially iron pills and food supplements containing iron) out of sight of youngsters and, preferably, locked up when not in use. Medicines and household chemicals on kitchen counters or bathroom surfaces are very accessible to young children.
2.) When these products are in use, never let young children out of your sight—even if you must take them along when answering the telephone or the doorbell.
3.) Store all medicines separately from household products, and store all household chemical products away from food.
4.) Keep items in their original containers.
5.) Leave the original labels on the products, and read the label before using.
6.) Always leave the light on when giving or taking medicines.
7.) Avoid taking medicines in front of children, since youngsters tend to imitate grown-ups.
8.) Refer to medicine as “medicine”—not “candy.”
9.) Clean out the medicine cabinet periodically, and safely dispose of unneeded medicines when the illness for which they were prescribed is over.
10.) Finally, use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container securely after use.
Source: New Jersey Poison Information and Education System (www.njpies.org)
In the event of a poison emergency you can call the nearest Poison Control Center by dialing the national poison control hotline number 1-800-222-1222.