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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 June, 2004, 23:09 GMT 00:09 UK
'My toddler drank white spirit'
Mother and baby
Maria says parents should be extra-careful
Child safety experts are warning that one in five toddlers can get into medicine and household cleaning bottles - even if they have child-resistant lids.

Here, Maria Thompson, a mother-of-four from Derby, tells BBC News Online the terrifying story of how her daughter Holly was rushed to hospital after drinking white spirits.

"I had been tidying up because I'd been redecorating the living room.

"I was going to clean the paint brushes with white spirits, but I remembered something I had to do in the other room, so I put it back in the cupboard, with the lid screwed on, but not totally fastened."

I came back into the kitchen to find Holly screaming her head off and she stank of white spirits
Maria Thompson
Maria usually secures the cupboard by tying the handles together - but this time, she forgot.

"I came back into the kitchen to find Holly screaming her head off and she stank of white spirits.

"I made sure she had nothing in her mouth and called the ambulance.

"They told me not to give her anything to drink, and not to make her sick, which could have made things worse."

'Don't leave anything out'

Holly, who will be two next week, was taken to hospital, where doctors gave her a clean bill of health - save for an inflamed gland, which they said should go down as she grows.

Maria said: "She was lucky. It could have burnt all her insides."

She added: "I was relieved that she was fine, but I was beating myself up about it because I should have put things away properly.

"I was really upset. It could have been a lot worse."

She said the incident had made her much more careful.

"Holly is very mischievous and I have to have eyes in the back of my head.

"I have to make sure I don't leave anything out that shouldn't be out.

"Now all the bleaches and things like it are locked in the shed."


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