Essential Oils To Blame For Daycare Carbon Monoxide Scare

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
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Firefighters were in for a surprise when responding to a possible carbon monoxide poisoning at a daycare center.

A daycare in Idaho was evacuated this week over what was thought to be a possible carbon monoxide leak. The actual culprit is surprising and for the parents of the children involved, probably infuriating. It turns out that the reason a bunch of kids and their teachers had some very disturbing symptoms was the use of essential oils in the classroom. Are you shaking your head and rolling your eyes yet? Because you should be.

Our Kids Daycare put a classroom of 12 toddlers down for a nap this past Tuesday but as the daycare center’s director Robin Hagaman explains to KTVB News, when they woke, it was apparent something was very wrong. “And so I came in and I checked them and I’m like okay they’re all dilated. You need to get them out of here, we moved them to the other end of the building.”

She’s talking about their eyes. The children woke with huge pupils and were also reportedly “crashing” after a period of hyperactivity. The teachers in the room complained of headaches and nausea and it was then that Hagaman concluded the daycare may be experiencing a carbon monoxide leak and decided to call the fire department.

After evacuating the building and completing a thorough search, Middleton Fire Department personnel concluded that it was a strong concentration of essential oils being diffused in the room where the kids were asleep causing the strange symptoms in the toddlers and their teachers. Fire fighters say it was the scent of cinnamon causing the dizziness and nausea. With the oils being confined to a small space and having nowhere else to go, it just built up in the air.

Indeed, Hagaman admits, “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. We had it up here on top of the little shelf, and it was going pretty steady.”

Luckily, the children were fine after leaving the room and everything was opened and aired out. It must have been a huge relief to all involved that no one was in danger after seeing so many people struck ill at once. It would’ve been a sad story if the real cause was carbon monoxide.

Now, we aren’t going to try to convince you whether or not essential oils do as they claim. That’s a whole other animal. If you think sniffing certain scents will stop you from getting a cold, that’s fine. You do you, in your own house. But if anyone truly believes that essential oils have curative or preventative properties, that means they have no business exposing other people’s children to them without their consent. We aren’t sure if the parents knew, but if they didn’t, they’d have every right to be furious.

When I send my kids to school with something as benign as lip balm they still need a note signed by me to use it. The school nurse can’t dispense medication of any kind without my permission, as she shouldn’t. It’s my prerogative as a parent to decide what my kids ingest and if this daycare center really was trying to use essential oils in a medicinal fashion, parents should’ve been notified and permission given.

The bottom line is, if anyone believes essential oils work, they can’t expose other people’s children to them without their knowledge. Essential oil enthusiasts can’t have it both ways. Either they have real medicinal properties or they’re harmless placebos, which brings up some questions. Why are they either exposing other people’s children to “medicine,” likely without their consent, or buying into what’s no more than super expensive air freshener?

Either way, these oils had no place in a daycare center full of children as they clearly had a pronounced effect of some kind, and not a good one. It sounds like the director’s learned her lesson and will hopefully start using a more benign product to buffer out the end-of-day poop smell in the facility. Good hand-washing practices and healthy habits should help take care of the rest.

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