Essential Oils Cause Carbon Monoxide Scare at Daycare

essential-oilOh, essential oils. What can’t they do? They can make you happy, make you sad, cure whatever ails you, and even cause a daycare full of toddlers to evacuate the premises for fear of a carbon monoxide leak, which happened last week at an Idaho daycare facility.

(Related: The Benefits of Natural Therapeutic Oils for Everything from Under-Eye Brightening to Diaper Rash)

According to Fox 13, workers at the Our Kids Daycare in Middleton, Idaho, put 12 kids down for a nap at around 11:30 in the morning last week. When the kids woke up, staff were horrified to see that the children’s eyes had all dilated. Surely terrified, the employees corralled all the kids onto the other side of the daycare building and opened all the windows to air the place out. Some of the staff members were experiencing headaches and nausea, and emergency services were called to investigate.

(Related: Science Mom: Essential Oils Won’t Make You Healthy, But At Least You’ll Smell Good)

At first everyone thought there was a carbon monoxide leak, but fire officials found no carbon monoxide present and instead put the blame on a diffuser of essential oils.

”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,” daycare manager Robin Hagaman said. ”We had it up here on top of the little shelf and it was going pretty steady.”

I can certainly understand having an essential oil diffuser around to help with bad smells. Diapers smell awful, and essential oils might not have magic powers, but they do smell pretty nice. But officials reportedly said the main ingredient in the daycare’s oils was cinnamon, and they were vaporizing cinnamon into the air at levels that were much too high for safety, which is how they wound up with a room full of toddlers running around with dilated eyes acting loopy.

According to KTVB, the daycare was using a diffuser by Young Living to cover up the smells and “help with the viruses.” But the oils were too potent and made everyone in the building light-headed, nauseous, and spacey.

Hagaman said they’ve learned their lesson about using undiluted essential oils in the building. But too many people assume that if something is “natural” it is safe. It’s not OK to just administer spurious medical care willy-nilly without even reading the instruction manual, which reportedly said that the oils needed to be diluted before use. 

(Photo: webphotographer/iStockPhoto/Getty Images)

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