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Published:March 14th, 2009 18:22 EST
Day Care Incident Makes Parents Think Twice About the Kool-Aid In Their Frig

Day Care Incident Makes Parents Think Twice About the Kool-Aid In Their Frig

By Christopher HIllenbrand

Authorities in Arkansas on Friday announced that ten children under the supervision of a day care worker in Scott, Arkansas drank from a jug of windshield wiper fluid that the worker accidentally mistook for Kool-Aid. Since the children were hospitalized and the media circulated her grievous error Friday, the female day care specialist has personally given up her state license.


Carolyn Bynum, the woman whose responsibility it was to care for the children, had recently gone on a shopping trip and bought the windshield wiper fluid along with the Kool-Aid. She claims to have mistakenly grabbed the fluid instead of the flavored sugary drink and put it in the refrigerator. Right before many of the parents of the kids came to pick up them up late Thursday afternoon, all ten children, from the ages of 2 to 7, became violently sick from drinking the potentially fatal blue substance.


"This product was mistakenly grabbed and thought to be Kool-Aid and put in the refrigerator," Bynum recounted to reporters.


According to Julie Munsell, a spokeswoman for the Arkansas Department of Human Services, child welfare investigators questioned the childcare worker as she willingly surrendered her state license. Bynum`s license allowed her to tend to a maximum of 10 children in her home 15 miles east of Little Rock. Munsell intimated on the accused woman`s state of mind and guilt over almost killing the kids unintentionally.


"She was so upset about what had occurred and she was definitely worried some of the children had been injured. It was just a mistake, she says. She says it was just a horrible mistake."


The state`s Department of Human Services went on to say that Ms. Bynum had never been guilty of found complaints or serious compliance concerns. Since the woman relinquished her rights as a childcare specialist, she can only reinstate her license by submitting another application.


Doctors from the Arkansas Children`s Hospital in Little Rock said the children drank about an ounce of the fluid before they recognized that it didn`t taste right, Laura James from the hospital told sources. James is a pediatric pharmacologist and toxicologist for the Children`s Hospital.


Only one of the sick children remains hospitalized as of Friday, as their blood tests indicated that the child still had "measurable levels" of methanol, an extremely toxic alcohol that may induce comas and potentially cause blindness. Bynum cooperated with the authorities in handing over the remaining cleaning fluid for them to test for any other harmful chemicals that may pose a threat to the children.


The same toxicologist further warned that most automotive liquids, such as windshield wiper fluid and antifreeze, feature vivid colors and tones that look the same as many children`s` fruit drinks. And from the standpoint of a distracted parent of small children, it could very well be overlooked as he or she stowed away her groceries for the day. By the time a naive child spots the brightly colored delight, it could already be a life or death situation.


         "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," James added to teach parents about ignoring the hidden threat in your shopping bags.