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Dangers of Unpreparedness: Preschoolers Served Pine-Sol Instead of Apple Juice

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

Honolulu Emergency Services Department recently received a terrifying call. A teaching assistant accidentally served Pine-Sol cleaning fluid instead of apple juice to children.

EMS examined three girls between the ages of 4 and 5. Luckily, none of the children became ill, and none of the girls experienced trauma or sickness.

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A Pre School Teacher Accidentally Served Pine Sol Instead of Apple Juice

Why The Preschool Teacher Served Students Pine-Sol Instead Of Apple Juice

“The classroom assistant who unintentionally poured the Pine-Sol had prepared snacks of crackers and juice as the classroom teacher attended to children at the restroom.” The assistant then “picked up the container of yellow-brown liquid off a clean-up cart in the kitchen and poured it into cups.”

The Pine-Sol was in its original container, with the label secured. There were no other food items on the cart because “food was labeled and stored in kitchen cabinets.” The school said, “Only sips were taken before the lead teacher realized the liquid was not apple juice.” She then called EMS and the police. Parents were also immediately notified of the incident.

In a letter sent home to parents, the school called the incident unfortunate. But, if proper safety protocols were in place, this incident would never have happened. Andrea Ganote, a parent, said, “I’m stunned. Absolutely stunned. My first reaction is wondering why they would store the two in the same part of the building.”

How Schools Should Prepare for Accidental Poisoning Incidents

It only takes a second for a busy teacher or teaching assistant to make a mistake. The teaching assistant didn’t realize she was reaching for a deadly liquid. But, the cleaning solution should never be in the same area as food and beverages. “The preschool said it would evaluate its process for obtaining snacks and refreshments to prevent any chance of this happening again. Staff will also undergo additional training.”