Astley toddler nearly killed by hidden chemicals in air diffuser

Lynn Addison wants to warn others about the dangers of hidden chemicals

Lynn Addison wants to warn others about the dangers of hidden chemicals

First published in North West
Last updated

A MUM feared for her 17-month-old baby’s life after he accidentally swallowed liquid from an air diffuser.

Lynn Addison’s son Alfie Barlow became unwell minutes after he tipped up and swallowed part of the fragrance diffuser – one with wooden sticks in it – which was on a windowsill in the front room of their home on Sunday afternoon.

Alfie was taken to hospital but just before they arrived he started having convulsions and swallowed his tongue.

Lynn said: “It was terrifying, I couldn’t believe how quickly he began to slip away from us. I just thought he was a bit tired and didn’t think he had swallowed any but my partner said we needed to take him to hospital.

“We got there with seconds to spare, he was completely out of it.

“We were told to wait outside and then a doctor came and said he was stable but they had no idea what would happen now.

“It was absolutely devastating, we thought he was slipping away. They let us go and see him but he was just lying there. He woke up for a few seconds but he didn’t even know who we were.”

The bottle and packaging were sent for analysis as initially doctors did not know what chemicals were in the diffuser.

The hospital lab discovered with help from the head office of the company which sold the product that there were 30 different chemicals – some of which were hazardous – in the bottle. None of the chemicals were listed on the label as being hazardous.

Lynn, of Holbeck, Astley, said: “I couldn’t believe it, I had no idea how dangerous it was. I have been told that anything with dangerous chemicals in it must be in a closed bottle so I just never thought it would be dangerous.

“Thankfully the doctors managed to do the right thing and he started to come back to us but I just keep thinking what would have happened if we hadn’t taken him.

“The staff at both Salford Hope and Bolton high dependence unit were amazing. Thanks to them we spent the next few days watching him come back to life.”

Alfie is now safe and well at home and doctors have asked if they can use his story as a case to share with other hospitals.

Lynn added: “I want to let others know what happened because I know quite a few people who have these in their home but like me, had no idea how dangerous they are.

“Even the nurses at the hospital were shocked and said they had them too. I thought it was just an ornament but would never have put it in my front room if I had known.”

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