Next week, March 18-24, 2018 is the 2018 National Poison Prevention week and Scouts everywhere can make a difference. The first step is to call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 to see how you can work together. Then refer to the materials in the Poison Prevention Week Planner (just click here) to prepare and promote any additional activities or events to support your poison center’s activities.

Two types of materials are included:

  • Activity and event-planning suggestions that outline activities for you to work with your poison center. For example,
    • your Scout unit could do poison prevention training for parents and babysitters. You can find training ideas at the Poison Help Website. Since the leading causes of poison exposures among children under age 6 involve cosmetics, cleaning products, and medicines, an effective event might teach those who provide care for children what the common dangers are.
    • Another example for Preteens/Teens is misuse of inhalants—household products that are sniffed to get high. This is a growing concern nation wide, as is prescription drug abuse. An effective event might be to hold a school assembly with skits that focus on the harm and dangers involved with using inhalants and other drugs.
  • Other ideas include: 
    • Posting general facts about poisoning and poison center resources on your unit Facebook page with a link to the Poison Help Website.
    • Call your radio station and ask them to read the live-read public service announcements and to play the Poison Help radio jingles, available for download on the Poison Help Website.
    • Hold a brown bag lunch at work to educate coworkers and your employer about potential workplace poisoning risks.
    • Hold a Local National Poison Prevention Week Poster Contest. Many poison centers invite children in the community to create a poster that can be used to educate the public about poisoning. 
    • Host a Poison First-Aid Class Work with your local poison center to obtain teaching materials so you can coordinate a first-aid class focused on poisoning for your community and workplace.
    • Partner With Your Local Poison Center to Coordinate a Tour Depending on the feasibility of doing so at your local poison center, consider holding a picnic outside of the facility followed by a small-group tour.
    • Another idea is to collaborate with local schools to offer a tour of your local poison center as a field trip, if your poison center is equipped to offer tours. Conduct a Community Health Fair 
  • Snapshots of Past Events and Activities—This 2-page PDF document illustrates several events that poison centers have implemented in previous years to increase community awareness about poisons, poison safety, and poison prevention.
On September 26, 1961, Congress passed a joint resolution requesting that the President  proclaim the third week of March National Poison Prevention Week.  On February 7, 1962, President Kennedy responded to this request, proclaiming the third week of March as National Poison Prevention Week and every president since.

BSA “Safety Moment” SUMMARY

The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), the nation’s expert resource for poison and drug guidelines, has provided urgently needed information and treatment advice to millions of people for decades. AAPCC’s Poison Help hotline—1-800-222-1222—has been included in the Boy Scout Handbook for almost as long. A new website,, is the latest development in the association’s ongoing commitment to saving lives.


Founded in 1958, the AAPCC represents 55 poison control centers nationwide. This group makes vital information and advice accessible for the entire U.S. population each year, 24 hours a day. Public contact is made every eight seconds.
Poisoning is one of the leading causes of injury deaths in the United States, and the rate of these fatalities increases every year. Based on this trend—and knowing that consumers today are looking for online resources—the AAPCC determined access to consistent and accurate poison-related information needed to be developed.
Questions posed to the Poison Help hotline via the website or by phone are answered by a team of nurses, pharmacists, and doctors with special training in toxicology and how to manage poisonings. These professionals are there to immediately answer questions and to recommend the best next steps if someone has been exposed to poison, a potentially toxic product or medication. These services are free and confidential.
Scouters and Scouts can use anytime there is a question of exposure to a potentially poisonous agent in the field, at camp, at home, or at a meeting site. A key part of being prepared in a case of poisoning is having quick access to reliable, lifesaving information, and there are now two ways to get it:
Call 1-800-222-1222
go online to


  • American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Poisoning Prevention
  • The Boy Scout Handbook, No. 34622
Darryl Alder
Darryl is a retired career Scouter with more than 30 years of service. These days he is a Scouting Ambassador and serves on the Council Membership and Marketing Committee. However, his pride in Scouting is his volunteer service as an Associate Advisor, Varsity Scout Coach, Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, Chartered Organization Representative, and Commissioner.

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