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Master Gardeners teach Poison Prevention

Posted: April 25, 2012

In March, Lehigh and Northampton County Master Gardeners taught an important lesson to 660 first graders in the Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton school districts.

Did you know that 9 out of 10 accidental poisonings occur in the home and 50% of these poisonings happen to children under the age of 6? 

Small children need to know how to avoid accidental poisonings.  This spring, the Penn State Pesticide Education program provided teaching materials and a lesson plan to our Master Gardener volunteers so they could educate first graders in the Lehigh Valley about poisons.  The Master Gardeners contacted the schools, scheduled the assemblies, and presented their message to 31 classrooms in 9 local schools, reaching 660 children and 50 adults. 

The children learned about common household products that are poisonous, what the signal words CAUTION, WARNING, and DANGER mean, and introduced them to the Mr. Yuck symbol.  Each child took Mr. Yuck stickers home to put on cleaning products, pesticides, automobile fluids, etc. around their home.  The also took home letters for their parents, printed in English and Spanish, to help them make their homes safer by using the Mr. Yuck stickers, locking up poisons, and teaching younger siblings to be careful.

Teachers commented: "This is such an important lesson" and "The lesson material is so age appropriate."  The Children were also very responsive.  They said: "I'll tell the baby (about staying safe) when it grows up."  "I'm going to take them (Mr.Yuk stickers) to my Nana's house because she takes care of my little cousin."