Toddlers safe after Middleton daycare scare

Firefighters say essential oils was likely the cause of the problem.

MIDDLETON -- A distressed call to a Middleton daycare for possible carbon monoxide poisoning led to an interesting discovery.

Crews were dispatched to Our Kids Daycare off Highway 44 in Middleton on Tuesday afternoon.

First responders say it's all hands on deck anytime children are involved. What they found after they investigated the building wasn't as scary as they had originally thought, but it did raise some concerns over an unusual culprit.

Our Kids Daycare manager Robin Hagaman said 12 toddlers went down for a short nap at about 11:30 in the morning. When they woke up a teacher told Hagaman that the childrens' pupils were huge.

"And so I came in and I checked them and I'm like okay they're all dilated," Hagaman told KTVB. "You need to get them out of here, we moved them to the other end of the building."

She opened up all the doors to ventilate the room. She says the children were very hyper, and then they crashed. Two teachers also had headaches and felt nauseous. Hagaman says at that point it seemed like they were experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning.

"As a precaution we came to the area and made sure no one went in until it was safe, and no one came out until they'd been treated," Middleton Police Sgt. Steve Walker said.

The Middleton Fire Department went in with meters to read the gas levels, but they detected no levels of carbon monoxide.

"Anytime that kids are involved you always think the worst and you want the best," Walker said. "We just want to make sure that kids are safe."

As soon as officials found out there was no danger from a gas leak, the kids were reunited with their parents. Firefighters believe that essential oils being diffused in the back room while the kids were sleeping caused the bizarre reactions.

"We've got some essential oils to kind of help with the different smells in the room of toddlers and to help with the viruses that are going around and stuff," Hagaman said. "We had it up here on top of the little shelf, and it was going pretty steady."

Firefighters say with a main ingredient being cinnamon, the oils were potent at that level, causing the children and teachers in that back room to become nauseous, light-headed and spacey.

"They're thinking that it had no place to go and so it just built up, and built up, and built up," Hagaman said. "They're thinking we may have put too many drops in it and ran it too long."

According to essential oil safety guidelines, the oils are a very concentrated combination of multiple chemical ingredients. They say you must dilute certain oils in order for them to be safe and effective.

"So lesson learned and we're going on from there," Hagaman said.

She says she did what she was supposed to do if it were carbon monoxide poisoning. Now she's working to reassure parents that everything is fine and that she wanted to "make sure the children were safe and protected."

Thankfully the kids' symptoms didn't get worse, or end up being a side effect of a gas leak. But it is a safety warning for anyone using essential oils - either diffusing, inhaling or applying to skin. Officials also add that this is a reminder to everyone about the potential dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. They say always have a CO detector in your home or business.


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