When you ask your kids the age-old question “what did you do at school today?” they might not talk about history or math or even what they did at recess; they might tell you they learned about poison control.
According to a recent assessment, poisoning is the second-highest injury risk to children in Frederick County. Safe Kids Frederick County has created the Adopt a Pharmacist Program where local pharmacists are paired up with first grade teachers in Frederick County Public Schools to teach their students in the hopes of reducing poisonings.
This new initiative kicked off in 2010 based on the following results ranking the top injury risk areas in 2006-2008 right here in Frederick County.
- Struck by/Against
- Natural Environment
- Motor vehicle occupant
- Fire and burns
- Transport, Other
- Unintentional firearm
- Airway obstruction/suffocation
Poison control centers across the U.S. get more than two million calls each year about possible exposure to poisons. Almost all the exposures happen at home and 80% are children between the ages of 1 and 4.
Angel Bivens, Public Education Coordinator with the Maryland Poison Center, provides teaching materials and instruction for the pharmacists for how to prevent poisoning at home and in any environment.
Here are some steps you can take to help reduce the risk of poisoning in your home:
- Install childproof latches on all cabinets
- Store all potential poisons out of reach of children
- Do not transfer potential poisons into food containers
- Return products to storage immediately after use
- Safely discard household products and medication in sealed bags outside
- Make sure medications are in childproof containers
“Last spring eight pharmacists went to eight elementary schools and taught 719 first grade students. In March alone, seven pharmacists have taught 543 first grade students in seven elementary schools. We have an additional four schools scheduled and are working to pair up more schools and pharmacists,” says Nancy Boyd, Co-coordinator of Safe Kids Frederick County and FMH Coordinator of Injury Risk Prevention.
Members of Safe Kids Frederick County hope this program will successfully decrease the poison injury risk in Frederick County.
If you believe someone has been exposed to poison, call 911 or the National Poison Control Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.