Poison Prevention: Children Act Fast (cont.)

Moderator: Paige, what do we need to teach our children about poisons to help them be safe?

Cucchi:Our basic safety message for childrenis very simple and straightforwqard. Because poisons come in many shapes, sizes and colors and because poisons can be tricky, and what I mean is poisons can be look-alikes, where they can look like products that are good to eat and drink, for example, medicine can look like candy, therefore, we teach children that they should not touch or taste anything unless they ask a grown up first. So our first basic safety rule is, don't touch, don't taste, ask first. We want children to realize that there is such a variety of products out there, that they can turn to an adult for help in determining what to take.

Cucchi: We do have a poison prevention curriculum for grades kindergarten through third that was developed in conjunction with Georgia State University, College of Education and that program is available to elementary schools throughout Georgia. The program is designed to teach children to identify common poisons to know what to do when they see a poison and to know what to do if they've been poisoned, or someone they know has been poisoned.

Moderator: Who answers the emergency telephone lines at the Poison Center?

Dr. Geller: When a caller calls about a poisoning emergency to our emergency number, the call is answered by one of our poison information specialists. These are people with pharmacy, nursing, or poison center backgrounds. We do not use secretaries or answering services to answer emergency calls. The emergency number throughout Georgia is 800-282-5846 In metro Atlanta, they can also reach us at 404-616-9000.

Moderator: Paige, please explain the training program for volunteers that you helped to develop for the Georgia Poison Center.

Cucchi: It's basically a program designed to train poison safety advocates, including pharmacists, nurses, EMTs, paramedics, and educators, to conduct poison prevention programs for children and adults. These participants of the program attend a four-hour training to learn about poisoning and are provided with the resources they need to conduct the program. They in turn go out into their own communities using messages, materials, and other resources developed by the Georgia Poison Center to promote poison prevention.

Moderator: We are almost out of time. Dr. Geller, do you have any final thoughts you'd like to share with us?

Dr. Geller: If anyone in our audience has further questions, they can reach us or our colleagues either at the poison center's website for non-emergency questions. In an emergency, our staff are always available at the emergency number we just gave, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help the people of Georgia.

Moderator: Miss Cucchi, do you have anything else you would like to add?

Cucchi:For educational information for residents of Georgia, they can call directly the education department at 404-616-9235.

Moderator: We are out of time. I would like to thank our guests, Dr. Robert Geller and Paige Cucchi of the Georgia Poison Center. Please be sure to visit the Georgia Poison Center website at www.georgiapoisoncenter.org for more information. If you are out of the area and want to find your local poison center, please visit the American Association of Poison Control Centers' website at www.aapcc.org. Remember, find your poison center number now and keep it near your phone. In an emergency, call your local poison center!

Please join us again next Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern for "Medicating Our Children: The Use of Drugs in Behavior Disorder Treatment". Our guests will be pediatrician Leslie Rubin, MD, and psychologist Wayne Fisher, PhD, of the Marcus Institute in Atlanta. We will be discussing the issues surrounding the treatment of children with behavior disorders. Thanks again for joining us. Good night.

Please visit the WebMD message board, "Healthy Parenting: Caring for Your Toddler with Stuart Janousky, MD" for more information.

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