Two kindergartners die from ‘eating rat poison’
Two children died from eating rat poison while attending school at a private kindergarten in Yunnan province, raising further concerns about the management of schools for children a week after four kindergartens were caught administering prescription drugs to students without the consent of parents.
At 3:20 pm on Wednesday, one student at Jiajia Kindergarten in Qiubei county was found on the ground unconscious as six other students began vomiting profusely.
Officials from the Shuanglongying township government drove the seven children to the Qiubei People’s Hospital to receive treatment. Several ambulances then rushed 76 other students from the school to the hospital for examinations.
By Wednesday night, emergency treatment failed to save the lives of two students, Yang Ziyi, 4, and Zhou Yulin, 5. The Qiubei Publicity Department said they found tetramine, a poison used to kill rats, in their bodies. As of press time, it is unclear if the food provided by the kindergarten was laced with the poison.
After the initial checkups, 32 children were hospitalized. As of Thursday morning, three of the 32 children were still ill from the suspected food poisoning and were being treated in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Zhao Minjian, director of the Qiubei Department of Publicity, said Jiajia Kindergarten was unlicensed.
Li Honglin, deputy director of the Qiubei Department of Publicity, said the county government has organized an investigation team, comprising education authorities and police officers, to investigate the case. As of press time, the investigation was still underway.
The education bureau said inspections will be conducted on all kindergartens and primary, middle and high schools to prevent any potential dangers to students.
In Qiubei county, most parents send their children to private kindergartens because of the limited number of government-funded ones. Thirteen of 16 kindergartens in downtown Wenshan are run by private owners.
A Qiubei official who declined to be named said Jiajia Kindergarten didn’t perform testing on its food and didn’t hire a healthcare worker, as required by the national regulation on kindergartens and other preschool institutions.
Zhao said the kindergarten “is still applying for a license” to operate in the county.
“The Qiubei education bureau checked its food supply days ago but didn’t find any problems,” Zhao said.
The county director of publicity didn’t reveal how the government would compensate the families of the two victims. Guo Anfei contributed to this story.
A child receives treatment for suspected food poisoning at a hospital in Wenshan, Yunnan province, on Thursday. Two children died after injesting rat poison at a rural kindergarten in the province on Wednesday. Authorities are still investigating where the rat poison came from.
Two of the 32 children are safe with their parents after being treated for eating rat poison in Yunnan province on Wednesday. A series of security problems in Chinese kindergartens has raised concerns about the management of preschools.