Toddler Who Mistook Plant Food for Kid Juice Didn’t Have a Chance

sippy cupTerrible news about a little boy who suffered a long, painful death. A toddler died after drinking plant food -- but it looks like he was also suffering from neglect. Almost 3-year-old Aaron Booth drank what is believed to be his mother's cannabis plant food, which he may have mistaken for his "Fruit Shoot" drink because of the way the plant food was packaged. But he hadn't been fed or given water for a whole day, so you can imagine how much worse the impact of the poison probably was on his little body.

Apparently the plant food had been left on a windowsill next to a bag of chips -- and within reach of Aaron. His mother was still in bed after noon when she says she heard a thud and found her son having trouble breathing with blue froth coming out of his mouth. The mixture of potassium hydroxide and water cause horrific internal burns to his mouth, down his esophagus, and his stomach. Aaron suffered in the hospital for 11 days before he finally died.


Aaron's mother, Lauren Booth, had been convicted on neglect charges in 2012, so it sounds like this was a mother struggling to parent. Accidents happen, but it sounds like this death was preventable. I think we all know the plant food should have been kept well out of the boy's reach, especially since the packaging made it look like a kids' fruit drink. And of course Aaron shouldn't have been going hungry. Something must be seriously wrong if you haven't fed your toddler for a day -- they don't exactly keep quiet about feeling hungry.

The coroner who handled the case said he was considering recommending that the plant food manufacturer change their packaging so the bottle doesn't look quite so much like a drink. I guess that might have helped, too. Remember the laundry detergent pods that look like candy? Smarter packaging is no substitute for smart parenting, but it does help.

Anyway, it's scary how this combination of unfortunate factors added up to such a horrible death. This is why parenting, good parenting, is such a demanding and valuable job.

Do you think this death was an unavoidable accident, or should the mother be held responsible?


Image via Randy Robertson/Flickr

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