As a full-time Poison Education & Outreach Manager at my local poison control center, I am tasked with educating the three million people in my region; through community presentations, health fair displays, outreach and awareness activities and providing free materials.
The majority of calls that come to our poison center involve children under 5 years of age. I began to brainstorm ways I could reach this population to attempt to prevent poisonings and promote the services of the poison center. Finally, I came up with an idea that I felt would do just that!
I sat down and wrote a story based on how I would normally present the information in a school setting. In the story, Otto accidentally gets bathroom cleaner in his eyes while washing his hands. His mom comes to help and begins rinsing his eyes out, and remembers to call poison control. The specialist at poison control helps Otto and his mom and sends his friend Pal to take Otto on a poison discovery of his home.
Pal shows Otto where poisons hide in the various rooms of his house and what dangers can be found outside. Pal teaches Otto how to stay safe from the things that could be dangerous, then instructs Otto to place the number for poison control on their refrigerator for future use.
The book comes complete with a teacher’s guide to aid a teacher in teaching the program in a classroom setting, three worksheets for the child to complete to extend learning and a home safety checklist that the child can take home and use to go on a poison discovery in his home.
The story was piloted by teachers in Pre-K and Kindergarten and received high reviews. Otto is entering the second phase of the pilot to monitor the efficacy in a larger market.
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