Also, the majority of parents/caregivers of intervention group students indicated, in a follow-up questionnaire, that their homes were made poison safe.
Emergency departments also have been used as a venue for educating the public about poison prevention. Wolf et al. (1987) examined the effects of medical counseling on poison prevention practices of inner-city families. Comparison of control and intervention groups indicated a positive effect of the counseling on ipecac storage and use. Reddy et al. (1999) conducted a prospective study of the effects on behavior of a videotape presentation supplement to written material handed out in an emergency department and as part of a general pediatric visit. The results indicated that caregivers who viewed the tape (intervention group) were three times more likely to read the material than caregivers who did not view the videotape (control group). Comparisons of pre- and posttest home safety scores indicated that individuals in the video group showed a higher incremental increase in knowledge than the control group.
Perhaps the most complete evaluation of poison prevention education was conducted between 1975 and 1979 in Monroe County, New York (Fisher et al., 1981). This project was designed to heighten public awareness and reduce risks and incidents of poisonings in the home. The results demonstrate that a comprehensive, multifaceted approach can have significant impact on prevention behavior. Interventions were conducted over a 3-year period and included community outreach seminars (to community workers in touch with families); school curriculum seminars and checklists; retail outreach efforts (sale of safety latches and reshelving of hazardous products); distribution of prevention materials to new mothers at the time of childbirth; and mass media campaigns. Follow-up surveys in the home showed significant reduction in accessibility to children of potentially hazardous products (36 percent fewer homes had accessible aspirins, 32 percent fewer had available drain cleaners, and 27 percent had fewer furniture polishes). Although all facets of the intervention were useful, the most frequently cited sources of information were (1) booklets provided in hospitals at the time of birth or other prevention material provided with a birth certificate and (2) mass media. Shelf warnings and materials that older children brought home from school were also useful sources. Data from surveys of retail stores showed marked improvement in stocking products with appropriate packaging, reshelving, posting warning signs, and stocking safety latches. In 1981 the Monroe County project was extended into five adjoining counties (Fisher et al., 1986). The results confirmed the findings of the original study showing an increase in knowledge about poisoning, an increase in calls to the poison control center, and a decrease in visits to emergency departments in the short term. No long-term follow-up of the effects of the interventions was conducted.