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BIRMINGHAM (August 21, 2013) – Children’s of Alabama launched the state’s first mobile application designed to identify toxic plants and venomous and poisonous animals today, offering Alabamians a simple resource to identify potentially dangerous plants, insects, snakes and common household items from an iPhone.
The app - entitled “PoisonPerils” - is free and can be downloaded from iTunes. The resource was designed to make parents, grandparents, teachers and other caregivers aware of the plants, snakes, insects and household items that the Regional Poison Control Center (RPCC) at Children’s receives calls about each year. This poison hotline (1-800-222-1222) is one of the few services at Children’s that treats adults as well as children.
“Poison Perils was designed to provide key information about Alabama’s flora, fauna, and also common household items, that is critical for parents, teachers and other caregivers to know in order to keep children, and themselves, safe,” said Dr. Ann Slattery of the Regional Poison Control Center. “We believe this is the first and only resource of its kind in Alabama and think this information is critical due to the state’s amazing array of biodiversity.”
Alabama has six types of venomous snakes, more than double that number of poisonous insects and scores of toxic plants. Additionally, poisonings from household items also result in frequent calls to the RPCC. Last year, in fact, the RPCC handled more than 32,000 calls and provided more than 75,000 follow-up calls to assure appropriate treatment and outcomes.
Dr. Slattery said the app also serves as a hotline to dial the RPCC in an emergency – users may simply click the app to dial the RPCC rather than dial the center’s 10-digit telephone number. Without an identification resource like this app, she said, parents and caregivers must rely on trying to describe an insect, plant, snake or household item in question, using precious time in the event of an emergency.
The application was developed by Appsolute Genius, a boutique Birmingham software shop specializing in the development of custom mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, Android phone, and Android tablet devices. PoisonPerils arrives around the first anniversary of the opening of Children’s $400 million Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children expansion and continues the organization’s increased emphasis on improving the patient families’ healthcare experience.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and UAB, helped make this resource possible according to Dr. Slattery.
Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children since 1911, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. Last year, families made more than 670,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 41 other states and four foreign countries. With more than 2 million square feet, Children’s is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. and has been ranked among the top children’s hospital programs in the country for the past four years by U.S. News & World Report. More information is available at www.childrensal.org/rpcc.