Poisoning still remains a very serious public health problem in the United States. People encounter poisonous and toxic substances in their homes, communities, and work environments every day. Did you know unintentional poisoning deaths are the #1 cause of injury-related deaths for children ages 18-36 months and the 2nd leading cause of injury-related deaths for U. S. adults? Last year the IPC handled over 92,000 calls. Approximately 52% of those calls were regarding children age 5 and under. As part of our mission to reduce the incidence and injury of poisoning in our communities, the IPC uses the signature month of March to further spread the message of poison prevention to families and communities across Illinois.
As the Illinois Poison Center kicks off Illinois Poison Prevention Month (IPPM) March 1st -31st, we asked some of our most active volunteer educators to share their IPPM activities; but more importantly we asked them to explain why IPPM is so important.
When I think of Illinois Poison Prevention Month (March) I think of saving lives. For the last 8 years I have been lucky to be a part of a wonderful poison prevention program through my job as an Emergency Room nurse at Centegra Hospital Woodstock in Woodstock Illinois.
As an ER nurse I am used to the high stress of acute illness and trauma. My job has many highs and lows during a 12 hour shift. Each March for IPPM, I get to visit approximately 2,000 five and six year old kindergarteners, and although it might sound stressful, it is very rewarding to me. I get the chance to make kids laugh and smile all day with the IPC’s Spike the puppet and teach them how to be safe around potentially poisonous substances. It reminds me why I became a nurse and an Illinois Poison Prevention educator.
All of our children deserve safe homes, schools, and places to play. Illinois Poison Prevention Month allows this to happen by educating the children, their families, and their schools about poison safety. If just one child stays away from a pill bottle and out of our ER, my job of poison prevention education is successful.Melissa Nolan RN, BSN Emergency Department Centegra Hospital-Woodstock
Prairie State College of Nursing has a partnership with the Illinois Poison Center which has proven to be very beneficial to our nursing students and our surrounding communities. Last November, all of our sophomore nursing students took the Online Poison Prevention Education Training Course and were able to teach poison prevention to local children in our surrounding community schools. The experience was valuable not only to our students but also to the many children they were able to teach. Our nursing students learned communication and presentation skills as well as educating the greater public by this experience. The children loved the Just Ask First video, the coloring pages and the magnets; which were just some of the free educational items we received from the IPC. Everyone involved, enjoyed the experience and the support we received from the IPC was invaluable to us.
For Illinois Poison Prevention Month we are excited to do this again by teaching the general public about poison prevention education at the Prairie Hills Elementary School District on March 12. The more people we can reach with such important information the better.Linda Zroskie Associate Professor of Nursing Prairie State College
At the Injury Prevention and Research Center (IPRC), we celebrate Poison Prevention Month by providing the Poison Prevention Educator Workshop at Children’s Memorial Hospital to encourage people to become poison prevention educators. We teach individuals about the Illinois Poison Center and its services. We also educate participants about potential poisonous items and what to do in case of a poison emergency.
At the IPRC at Children’s Memorial Hospital, we work to prevent injuries to children. We are proud to be a volunteer Urban Pediatric Satellite of the Illinois Poison Center. We want parents and caregivers to know the Illinois Poison Center is a wonderful resource for information on potential poisons and poison prevention. We want all parents to know the IPC’s number (1-800-222-1222), and to call when they have questions about poisons. As a parent of two young children, I have called the IPC for advice about lead poisoning risks and toxic fumes. The IPC staff gave me helpful advice and even followed up later with a phone call.Amy Hill Project Manager Injury Prevention and Research Center
So what are you doing to celebrate IPPM? If you need ideas, be sure to visit the new IPC website for 11 easy waysyou can get involved with IPPM. While you’re there be sure to enter IPC “Website Wiggle” random prize drawing.
One of the most important takeaways of IPPM is to make sure the residents of Illinois know that we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year via a FREE, confidential hotline, 1-800-222-1222 to provide expert medical information and treatment advice in the event of a poison emergency.