The mum of a three-year-old boy has revealed her feeling of “terror” after discovering he swallowed rat poison while at nursery.
Katrina Williamson’s son Aaron came across the pellets in a trap within the outdoor play area at Firtrees Nursery which is situated within the college campus in Motherwell.
The youngster’s dad David Adams had turned up to collect him from nursery in May this year and was told his son had handled the rodent poison but that his hands had been washed and sanitised.
However, when he asked Aaron if he had eaten any of the blue pellets. he replied “lots”.
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A pest control company was called in to set traps, days after rats had been spotted in the play area on May 6.
An investigation by the Care Inspectorate into the incident found that while a cordon had been created the area the traps were in was not sufficiently secured and Aaron was able to enter unbeknown to staff and gain access to the poison.
It also concluded that he had been discovered in the area by another child.
Aaron’s dad was told his son had had a “good day” when he turned up to collect him before he was approached by senior staff who made him aware of the incident.
It was only then that he was taken to hospital for treatment. Doctors told the horrified couple that Aaron’s system had absorbed the poison before he was sent home after a blood test showed no significant changes.
The nursery told Katrina the harmful substance was Formula B, which contains an anticoagulant.
The Care Inspectorate report said another child found Aaron and notified staff who found him with blue pellets in his hands.
“I was terrified, bringing him home and told to watch out for bleeding from his eyes, ears, mouth, nose and nappy and any unusual bruising,” the youngster’s mum told BBC Scotland.
“We didn’t want him to go to sleep in case he didn’t wake up. We stayed up and researched the poison and discovered rat poison might take days to start acting, and that it could be deadly, so I called the hospital at 3am and asked for further blood tests and they agreed to do so once 48 hours had passed.”
A second blood test indicated Aaron’s blood was thinning and he was taken for vitamin K via an intravenous drip and monitored until his blood returned to normal.
Aaron was off nursery for three months but is now settling in to a different nursery.
“It has been nerve-wracking trusting another nursery and Aaron needed extra support to settle in,” Katrina added.
“Now we are left hoping to God he is fine but we have it in the back of our minds that something might happen.”
The Care Inspectorate have upheld four complaints against Firtrees Nursery.
It ruled that a safe environment was not provided, and that Aaron’s parents and not all staff were timeously informed he had accessed a hazardous substance. The report also concluded that medical advice and assistance was not sought by staff, and that Aaron’s parents were not provided with sufficient information.
A fifth complaint that inaccurate information was shared in relation to the incident was not upheld.
The nursery is part of a group of four operated by Amcol Scotland Ltd, and works in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council.
A spokesperson for North Lanarkshire Council said: “This was clearly a serious incident. We expect all our early learning and childcare settings including partner nurseries to provide the highest standards of care and support to our children and families.
“We have worked closely with the nursery to develop an action plan and will continue to work with them to ensure that all areas identified are implemented and monitored robustly as a matter of priority.”
A spokesperson for Firtrees Nursery said they were unable to comment on the report due to ongoing investigations.
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