Preschoolers Served with Cleaning Liquid to Drink Instead of Apple JuiceTop Stories

December 04, 2018 12:10
Preschoolers Served with Cleaning Liquid to Drink Instead of Apple Juice

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The young children in a preschool in Hawaii were served Pine-Sol, a liquid that is used for cleaning household products instead of apple juice drink during a morning snack time, a mistake that health officials said happened because the two liquids were "the same color."

Subsequently, the officials of school apologized for the oversight.

The incident took place on Tuesday at the preschool at Kilohana United Methodist Church in Honolulu.

A classroom assistant prepared the snacks - which should have been crackers and apple juice - in the preschool's kitchen, according to an inspection report by the Hawaii State Department of Health.

Instead of juice, however, the assistant allegedly grabbed a container of Pine-Sol, a decades-old brand of a household cleansing agent that comes in an assortment of scents, though none particularly remindful of apple juice.

"The assistant saw the yellow/brown colored liquid container on a cleanup cart in the kitchen and returned to the classroom with the crackers and container with liquid," the inspection report stated. "The assistant poured the liquid into cups as the classroom teacher oversaw the students at the restroom."

The report noted that the classroom teacher "smelled that it was not apple juice and stopped the students from drinking it."

However, Honolulu Emergency Medical Services confirmed to The Washington Post that paramedics examined three female students, two 5-year-olds and one 4-year-old, who had consumed at least a sip from their cups.

"We can confirm they were given a substance that was considered poisonous for human consumption," Honolulu EMS spokesman Dustin Malama told The Post. "When our paramedics evaluated the children, they seemed perfectly fine and they were laughing and playing. It seemed like nothing had happened."

Malama said that the girls showed "no obvious signs of injury, trauma or sickness" and that their parents declined transport to the hospital. Poison-control specialists advised them that the girls "didn't drink nearly enough to be considered a problem," he added.

"As far as the incident goes - aside from the obvious [question of] how do you mistake Pine-Sol and apple juice? - it was fairly unremarkable," Malama said.

Nevertheless, several parents were outraged at the switch-up.

According to the inspection report, the Pine-Sol was in good order labeled in its original container and the cart on which it had been found did not contain food items, only a trash can, and cleaning supplies.

The preschool's cleaning supplies are "stored below the kitchen sink and in the janitor's room," the report stated, while food items "are properly stored and labeled in the kitchen cabinets."

"I think it's extremely terrifying," parent Turina Lovelin told KHON News. "It's very, very scary, but it's hard for me, or any of the people that I've spoken to, to understand how it happened in the first place."

Preschool officials emailed parents to inform them about the incident and held a meeting, describing the mix-up as "unfortunate" and vowing to re-examine its snack preparation process "to rule out the smallest possibility of an occurrence like this from happening again," according to Hawaii News Now.

The classroom assistant who served the Pine-Sol no longer works at the preschool, KHON reported.

The preschool's director did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

There was no food-safety violation noted, according to the health department's inspection report.

-Sowmya Sangam

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Hawaii  Pine Sol  Apple juice