10 drink windshield wiper fluid at Ark. day care
By JON GAMBRELL, Associated Press Writer Jon Gambrell, Associated Press Writer 1 hr 2 mins ago
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Ten children drank windshield wiper fluid after a staffer at an Arkansas day care served it from a container mistaken for Kool-Aid and placed in a refrigerator, authorities said Friday.
The day care owner surrendered her state license, meaning she wouldn't be able to take care of children in the future, said Julie Munsell, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Services.
Doctors estimate the children, ages 2 to 7, drank about an ounce of the blue fluid late Thursday afternoon before realizing it tasted wrong, said Laura James, a pediatric pharmacologist and toxicologist at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock.
Only one child remained hospitalized Friday morning, after blood samples showed "measurable levels" of methanol, a highly toxic alcohol that can induce comas and cause blindness, officials said. The day care also provided the fluid for testing.
The windshield wiper fluid was bought with several other items on a recent shopping trip, James told The Associated Press. "This product was mistakenly grabbed and thought to be Kool-Aid and put in the refrigerator," she said.
The day care's operator, Carolyn Bynum, was interviewed Friday by child welfare investigators and gave up her license, Munsell said. Bynum declined to comment to the Associated Press.
"She was so upset about what had occurred and she was definitely worried some of the children had been injured," Munsell said. "It was just a mistake, she says. She says it was just a horrible mistake."
Bynum's license had allowed her to care for 10 children in her home in Scott, about 15 miles east of Little Rock. Munsell said Bynum had no found complaints or serious compliance issues in the past.
The toxicologist warned that many antifreeze or windshield wiper solutions have bright colors, which can be mistaken for fruit drinks.
"I think the take-home message is not to have these products in the kitchen or where you're doing any kind of food preparation," she said.