Baby's death caused by rat poison

2015-10-28 12:17
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Cape Town - The death of a 10-month old baby in Khayelitsha in July after he ate rat poison, has once again highlighted the need for caution when using pesticides in the home, the City of Cape Town said in a statement.

The environmental health section investigated the baby's death, and concluded it was a result of the rat poison.

"It is understood that the child was playing inside his home when he came into contact with the poison pellets which had been set out on a side-plate, hidden behind a cupboard," the statement read.

Apparently the poison had been put out for rats, but the residents had forgotten about it. The baby’s caregiver took him to the local hospital after he started vomiting, but he was declared dead on arrival.

'Heartbreaking'

"This is a truly heartbreaking incident and my thoughts and prayers are with the family," said mayoral committee member for health, Siyabulela Mamkeli.

"It is important that this baby's death not be in vain and so I appeal to parents to learn from this tragedy and ensure that they do everything possible to mitigate the risk of their children being exposed to pesticides.

"These incidents are not commonplace, but one death is one too many," Mamkeli said.

During the 2014/15 financial year, city's health department investigated six pesticide poisoning cases across the city. Environmental health practitioners also conduct regular inspections of informal traders to root out the sale of toxic pesticides that are being sold illegally.

These poisons often carry no label and thus no information about the ingredients or manufacturer, placing users, children, pets and the environment at risk, the statement warned.

"I understand that not everyone is able to afford professional pest control services, but I would also caution against buying cheap and toxic products that are not correctly packaged or labelled.

"There have been instances of children drinking poisonous chemical substances that have been stored in plastic cooldrink bottles because they are stored within easy reach. I appeal to residents to buy only approved and legal pesticides and to use them with care, especially when they have children or pets in the home," Mamkeli said.

He said a free rodent control service to members of poor communities was available through their local environmental health office or by leaving a rodent complaint at their nearest municipal clinic.

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