Locally, the big story this week is the death of a baby from "bug bombs"--the popular over-the-counter, automatic-spraying insecticides his mother set off in her trailer (a very small, closed-in space) several times a week.
She sounds uneducated, and didn't completely understand the hazards. (She was covered with it herself.) I wonder if she could read the label?
Bug bombs may have killed Williamston infant, coroner says
Baby's mother, brother treated for breathing problems
By Eric Connor • Staff Writer • November 3, 2009
It's just such a tragedy. And it certainly underscores the dangers in "household chemicals" presented on TV as handy-dandy cure-alls for every situation.
Over-the-counter insecticides are likely what caused the death of a 10-month-old Williamston boy over the weekend and left his older brother and mother in the hospital, an investigator said Monday.
However, additional tests that will measure chemicals inside 10-month-old Jacob Whitfield’s body will be conducted over the next several weeks to definitively determine the cause of death, Anderson County Deputy Coroner Don McCown said.
An autopsy discovered no signs of “injury, trauma or neglect,” McCown said.
“At the present time, we’re tentatively leaning toward that, but we’ve still got a lot more to look at,” McCown said.
Emergency workers arrived at Whitfield’s home on 104 Kirsch Drive on Sunday afternoon to find his mother, Elizabeth Whitfield, trying to resuscitate him after the baby suffered breathing problems, McCown said.
Jacob Whitfield later died at AnMed Hospital from cardiac arrest, McCown said.
Later that evening, emergency workers were again sent to the home when his older brother, 2-year-old Kenneth Whitfield, had breathing problems, McCown said.
Kenneth Whitfield was transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital, where he remained in critical condition Monday in intensive care, but “things look optimistic,” McCown said.
Elizabeth Whitfield also was treated at the hospital, McCown said. Her clothes were so saturated with chemicals that she had to take a shower and change clothes, he said. She was observed at the hospital but wasn’t critically affected, he said.
The mother told authorities that she had been using indoor insecticides — commonly known as “bug bombs” — to eradicate a roach problem, McCown said.
The singlewide mobile home sits in a thickly wooded area off U.S. 29, he said, and an insect problem was evident.
The mother apparently set off the insecticides “several times a week,” McCown said. A hazardous materials team was called out to the scene, he said.
The mother told authorities that her boys felt sleepy Sunday and took a nap, which is when Jacob Whitfield became unresponsive, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Scott White said.
Many of us talked about being students or clueless young wives, who probably set off too many bug bombs ourselves. We knew enough not to leave humans or animals inside, but we likely did it too often for safety. Back in the day, they didn't even print any 'limits' on the packaging, and it is likely Whitfield didn't grow up with any limits on the bug bombs her family used.
If we'd get rid of these dangerously-noxious and toxic chemicals for everyday uses, these things wouldn't happen. Then again, I dislike the nanny-state as much as many of the rest of you do...
Any comments on how to avoid these types of tragedies, particularly when dealing with illiterate people or non-English speakers?
Note: Although I am tagging this one with "child abuse" (for cataloging purposes), I realize this was not deliberate on the part of Elizabeth Whitfield.