This is the Project Proposal our ED626 Class received from our customers from the College of Pharmacy.
Poison Prevention on the World Wide Web:
A Service Project of The Academy of Students of Pharmacy (ASP)
Jill Burkiewicz, P3, ASP Secretary
Shamita Gupta, P3
Duane Kirking, ASP advisor
The Academy of Students of Pharmacy, ASP, is a pharmacy student organization committed to advancing the professionalism of pharmacy students, and the profession of pharmacy itself. ASP also encourages member involvement in community service activities.
Every year during Poison Prevention week in March, ASP members visit a few (2-3) grammar schools in the Ann Arbor area for a Poison Prevention Presentation. Since it is estimated that there are 4.7 million exposures to poisons each year, this need for poison prevention education cannot be overlooked.
This presentation to children ranging in age from 5-7 years old consists of an interactive informational session in which the class is asked various questions including:
¥ What is a poison?
¥ What kinds of things are poisons?
¥ How do you get poisoned?
¥ Who can be poisoned?
¥ Where would you find poisons in your home?
¥ What should you do if you see someone with a poison?
¥ What should be done if you or possibly a brother or sister eat a poison?
During the session, the coordinators stress that anyone can be poisoned, poisons are everywhere, and the children should always tell a parent or an adult if they see someone touching something poisonous.
In a second part of the presentation, the class plays a game -- Pick the Poison. In this game, look-alike items are paired and individuals are asked to identify which of the two is a poison. Examples of pairings include: Tic-Tacs and aspirin, Kraft Parmesan Cheese and Comet, toothpaste and caulk. Throughout the game, the presenters emphasize the importance of contacting an adult if any of these is encountered.
At the end of the program, the coordinators distribute packets to each child. These packets are designed to be done at home, preferably with parents. Within each packet is a letter to the parents encouraging them to go on a "safety tour" of their home with their son or daughter. In this way, the parents and children are able to make their home safer -- decreasing the possibility for accidents and poisonings.
The packet also contains activity sheets in which the children can identify the poisons and the non-poisons -- coloring the items which are safe. Once the web site is implemented, the information packet may become a means to advertising the web site to parents in the Ann Arbor area.
The current Poison Prevention Program by ASP only reaches about 100-150 students per year. The extent of this program could be greatly increased by computerizing the program. A computerized program, however, would not substitute, for the existing ASP Poison Prevention Program done in grammar schools. Many children do not have access to computers at home and, additionally, ASP members have fun with the onsite program!
A number of web sites or dimensions within one web site could potentially be developed to target different audiences. However, in order to make the web development a manageable task, our web site would first be targeted to children using web services at home with their parents.
Such a site would increase accessibility of the poison prevention program reaching more than the 100-150 students currently reached annually. In addition it would encourage parental involvement. In this way, a younger and more impressionable audience could possibly be reached (pre-preschool age).
Three- to six-year-old children, with parental assistance, should easily be able to maneuver through our site if designed properly. With an ever increasing number of families buying PC's and gaining access to the internet with services such as America Online or CompuServe, the audience for this program increasing daily.
The goal of this project remains similar to the initial goal of our current Poison Prevention Project -- to teach kids about the perils of poisons. Additionally, this web project proposes to reach a much larger audience.
Matrix Information and Directory Services (MIDS) estimated in October 1995 that the Internet has 26.4 million users. Based on previous surveys and evaluating the trends, John S. Quarterman of MIDS estimates that the number of users doubles every year. Business Week, in February of 1995 estimated that the nuumber of web sites alone doubles every 53 days. The publication NET calculated the growth of World wide Web traffic in 1994 as 1713%.
With such a large reachable population, the scope of the poison prevention program is virtually unlimited. More practically it is limited by our ability to inform users of the existence of our site. With local advertisement, as well as partnerships with other colleges of pharmacy, who may do advertising in their local communities, the project has the potential to reach a fairly large segment of the population.
Without knowing the scope of the potential audience until this level is reached, it is difficult to comment on the degree of impact that this project will have. Nevertheless, it is certain to have a significant impact on the safety of schoolchildren, and the peace of mind of their parents.
Whatever the appropriate site for this page, whether it be within the College of Pharmacy's web page, on a page for student organizations, or on an ASP page, the format of the page itself is independent of the initial location. I foresee a menu page as the first page the user will view. The following sections will be part of the menu, with descriptions following:
- In this section, the definition of the poison will be explored. Since this is a parent-child focused site, much of the information will be in the form of text written for the child that the parent will read. Pictures will accompany the information for the child to view as the parent is reading the text. In this sense, it will be like a storybook format. If possible, after the whole site is into place, the text may be put into an audio format -- but this will be for later consideration.
How are we poisoned?
- This section will explore the different routes of poisoning -- through the skin, lungs, eyes, and the mouth. Eating poisons isn't the only way to get hurt. This section will also make it clear that animals and plants can poison us too --- not just chemicals. Again, this will be in a storybook format in which the parent reads the text, while the child follows along with the pictures. It also will contain some games for the child to play to test their knowledge. The child can pick the routes of poisoning using the mouse to click on the graphical representations of the different routes (skin, mouth), or of the different modes of poisoning (chemicals, plants). Here audio may play a role in the site -- signaling correct or incorrect choices.
Where do we find poisons?
- This section will explore the different rooms of the house to see what poisons are kept in different areas of the house. If will begin with a cross-sectional view of a house. Then the child can pick a room of the house by clicking on the appropriate room. For example, the bathroom may contain medicines in a cabinet, the garage may contain gasoline, and the kitchen may contain cleaning products under the sink. Each room will be explored through a graphical representation, then the storybook format of text to be read by the parent. At the end, the child will have the option of playing an interactive game to test their knowledge. In this game, the child can place the poison in the appropriate room. Again, audio segments may be a part of this game as well.
Pick the Poison
- This "Pick the Poison" game will test the knowledge of the child just as the game did in the in-class sessions. It will be of similar principle, only adapted for play on the computer. Two graphics will be displayed on the screen, and the child will click on the one that is not the poison -- for example the Parmesan cheese and comet look-alikes described earlier.
Information for the Parent
- This section will contain pertinent information for parents in preventing and treating poisons. It will include instructions on how to go on a "safety tour" of their home, to remove poisons from places that the kids can reach, and to show kids from what in their house they should stay away. It will contain the phone numbers of poison prevention centers in their area -- advising the parent to place these numbers close to the phone. Also, this section will contain information on syrup of ipecac advising the parent to keep it on hand and use only under the advice of a professional.
- Since children love to get mail, in this section the child (or parent) will be able to e-mail a designated person in our ASP chapter to let us know that they completed the poison prevention educational program. Then, our chapter member will mail them (through US mail) a certificate of completion. If the requests become too numerous to handle, an automatic mail-back will be set-up in which the certificate will go by e-mail to an address that the user inputs.
There are a number of ways to evaluate such a project. First, we must ensure that the project is usable by the audience, namely 3-6 year old children. Currently, OIT is working with the School of Education to seek individuals interested in advising us on this end of the project. It will be necessary to get a test group of kids together to see what difficulties they have with the program, and what suggestions the parents have for improving the site.
Another way in which we must evaluate the program is through professional consultation. I am in the process of contacting member of the Michigan Pharmacist Association to see if there are any individuals in local chapters who may be trained in the area of Poison Control that would be willing to act as a consult on this project. Also, if this fails, I will be contacting the Poison Control center in Detroit to find professional consults there.
Once implemented, there must be a way to continually evaluate the project. This can be accomplished by linking the site with a designee in our chapter responsible for the web site. In this way, those individuals who are using the site with their children can directly e-mail this person within the site with their suggestions or comments about the site.
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Revised: November 27, 1996
Copyright ©1996 The University of Michigan
Send comments or queries to Carl Berger or Rosalind Kam