Poison Control Group Expands Preteen Medicine Literacy Program

The American Association of Poison Control Centers has boosted its relationship with children's publishing giant Scholastic to teach sixth-graders how to properly use over-the-counter medicine, building on the program with a new storybook and interactive materials.

The medicine cabinet can be a dangerous place—especially for younger children, who may not be aware of the risks of improperly using medication.

Which is why the American Association of Poison Control Centers has been working with one of the largest educational book providers in the country to teach preteens about safe use of over-the-counter drugs. And based on the early success of the program, which serves 70,000 teachers nationwide, the groups have expanded their relationship. More details:

Safety first: Earlier this year, AAPCC, Scholastic, and McNeil Consumer Healthcare launched the OTC Literacy program as an educational effort to teach sixth-graders about the proper use of over-the-counter medications. The program is targeted at preteens, who are at the age when children are likely to use OTC medications by themselves. (According to the group, children generally begin to self-medicate around the age of 11.) “Educating children about medicine safety is essential and can potentially have a life-saving impact as they start to take more responsibility for their health and medications later in life,” AAPCC Executive Director Debbie Carr said in a statement at the time of the launch. The program offers materials for teachers, parents, and school nurses to help children better learn and identify how to use such medications safely.

New interactive elements: This week, the association announced it would expand its program with Scholastic, launching a series of new materials, including a storybook targeted at young children. The book, Oh No! Not Another Science Fair Project, touches on the issues the program raises about the use of OTC medications, using a series of real-world anecdotes. It includes a corresponding interactive game that teaches how to store medicine safely. “The engaging, multimedia instructional materials in the OTC Literacy program help teachers and families increase children’s understanding of medicine safety in real-world situations while building students’ reading comprehension skills and academic vocabulary,” said Ann Amstutz-Hayes, Scholastic’s senior vice president of national partnerships, in a statement.

Have you tried creating consumer-focused educational programs to advance your association’s mission? Tell us about it in the comments.

The cover of "Oh No! Not Another Science Fair Project," a storybook created as part of the OTC Literacy program. (Scholastic)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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