4-Year-Old's Tragic Death From Poisoning Is a Warning to Us All

A 4-year-old boy from New York City may have died after eating rat poison left in his apartment building by an exterminator. Juan Sanchez returned home from the park with his four young brothers on Sunday morning and reportedly began showing signs of illness a few hours later. The preschooler started foaming at the mouth and turning blue, according to a source. The child was rushed to the hospital but died shortly thereafter.

The only culprit Juan's mother could point to was rat poison that she said had been left in their apartment building by an exterminator two weeks ago. Cops are investigating her claims, and in the meantime, bits of info have popped up that make one question whether this tragedy could have been avoided.

This poor child fell sick after returning home from a trip to the park with his mom and four older brothers. At first, cops looked into the possibility that the preschooler might have suffered from alcohol poisoning. His 8-year-old brother told his mom he caught Juan taking sips from a bottle of malt liquor a neighbor had left out in the hallway. But traces of alcohol were not found in Juan's blood. After stating the boy's parents are not suspected of foul play, authorities have shifted their focus to the rat poison.

Juan's family live in a big apartment building in a heavily populated area in the Bronx. Tenants have reported seeing big rats in the complex, and it's common for residents to run into bags of rat poison they find around the building. Juan's mother, however, says she always told exterminators to NOT leave the poison in her apartment because she has small children.

It seems like mom and dad were doing everything they could to keep their children safe, and it's heartbreaking to think that factors out of their control may be to blame for taking Juan away from them. As parents, we are often aware of the many hazards present in our homes. We attach child-proof locks to cabinets containing chemicals and seal up all of our electrical outlets. But it's also important for us to be aware of the dangers that could arise as a result of our interactions with others.

We'd like to think our neighbors are thoughtful enough to empty bottles of alcohol before discarding them. We want to believe professionals, such as exterminators, are cautious not to leave poison in places that children can access. But the truth is: it's up to us as parents to be vigilant and aware of the potential dangers out there. We can't rely on anyone else to think of our children's safety first.

Our hearts go out to little Juan's family. No parent should be forced to deal with the heartbreaking loss of their child.

What are some dangers you've found in or around your home that you weren't aware of at first?


Image via William Ross/Flickr

accidents, death, in the news, drugs & alcohol, kid health, safety


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funmo... funmommy123

Haven't found anything around my home that was put by somebody else. I did pour borax around my front door, because we kept getting these nasty black bugs feom outside. I just told my kids it was poisonous & to not touch it. If they accidently touched it, to wash their hands immediately. I feel for the family & the little boy. I have to wonder though, did they not tell him what the poison was? At 4yrs old, I'd think, after being told what it was, they would k ow not to eat it.

craft... craftycatVT

Maybe the parents shouldn't have had so many kids that they couldn't watch them. The kid was taking sips of booze out of a bottle and the mom didn't even notice.

Nelli... NellieAthome

craftycatVT - how shamelessly cruel your comment is

funmommy123 - you might want to try diatomaceous earth around your doors and foundation. It will kill the bugs and is not toxic to your kids or pets.

Niki Self

craftycatVT that was pretty harsh and really uncalled for. 

on another note, why didnt the parents just take it out of the house and replace it with something safer?

IHear... IHeartCake

It's not the parents' fault.  If rat poison was left out in the apartment building where children could find it, touch it, be exposed to it in any way, it's the fault of whoever left out the poison. 

There are dangers lurking everywhere.  I see discarded cigarettes and tiny liquior bottles outside in parks and along hiking trails and even in playgrounds every time I go out.  Discarded cigarettes are all over the playground. It would take one second for a toddler to grab one off the ground and stick it in his or her mouth or grab one of these bottles and drink from it.

A parent with 2 children wouldn't be able to watch both at the same time every second. Shame on selfish people who litter!  Or people who don't take extreme care with rat poison.  Everyone who lives in the building where these people live are probably at risk for health problems due to exposure to small amounts of rat poison over time.

I feel so sad for this family, having to watch their son die like this because of someone's carelessness.

nonmember avatar Audrea

The new regulated for mandatory use florescent light bulbs for home/personal usage. Each one of these types of bulbs is lined with Mercury, a highly toxic chemical to humans in even small amounts. If the bulb breaks, shatters, etc... A cloud of vaporized Mercury wafts into the air posing a major risk to an inhalation injury from this more harmful than helpful element. Several children have been hospitalized across the globe, as well as deaths have been reported.

Google it. You'll be as shocked as I was to learn this.

Leigh Anna Clark Young

@ Audrea...what in the hell are you talking about in reference to this article

Jody Alton

Maybe the rat poison wasn't IN the apartment.  If the child was drinking from a liquor bottle he found outside the apartment, perhaps in the hallway, might he not have also eaten the rat poison if it were left in the hallway or outside around the complex?

nonmember avatar jen

@Leigh Young, she's responding to the question at the end of the article....not that hard to figure out

Dawn Dealmeida

I'm so sorry 4 Ur loss of Juan.. This is a horrible tragedy and I hope u can find the strength 2 get u thru.. God will watch over Ur family and help u thru this horrible time.. Ur family r in my prayers most definitely..

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