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Parents relieved as toddler OK after ingesting Valium at Kensington playground

A 15-month-old is safe at home thanks to the actions of his quick-thinking mother after he nearly ingested a number of prescription pills left at the top of a playground slide near Toronto’s Kensington Market on Sunday.

Lindsay Lorusso and her husband Andrew Nisker stopped at Bellevue Square Park around noon to let their children have some play time after doing some shopping nearby.

Lorusso was waiting for her youngest, Apollo, to come down the slide.

But when the little boy appeared at the top of the structure, his mother was horrified to see what he had in his mouth.

“It was very clear that it was something blue and foreign,” Lorusso told CBC News on Sunday. “I grabbed him, fished as much as I could out of his mouth and noticed that some of it was dissolving.”

Police find several pills scattered around park

That’s when she called to her husband for help.

They noticed right away it was a pill. Fortunately, Toronto Western Hospital was just blocks away, within running distance.

The couple took the little boy to the hospital on foot. But before doing so, Lorusso noticed another pill at the top the slide and grabbed it to take with her to show the doctor.

Toronto police confirmed Sunday that they located a number of the same pills scattered around the park, where several other young children had been playing.

Bellevue Park

Toronto police Const. David Hopkinson told CBC News the child was playing at Bellevue Square Park, located in the Kensington Market area, around noon Sunday before coming across the pills. (Google Maps)

Inside the hospital, Lorusso said she and her husband played the waiting game. They didn’t know how much of the drug Apollo could have ingested or what the side effects might be.  

What they did know was that Apollo sat fairly quietly in his stroller for two hours, something Lorusso says was out of character for a boy who would normally be “bouncing off the walls.”

‘He can’t tell me what’s happening to him’

“It’s terrifying. He’s a 15-month-old. He can’t tell me what’s happening to him. I don’t know how quickly something like this is going to affect him,” she said.

Lorusso says doctors told her that what Apollo put in his mouth was in fact Valium, a tranquillizer often prescribed for anxiety. Approximately a quarter of the pill had dissolved in the boy’s mouth, Lorusso estimates.

Lindsay Lorusso

Lindsay Lorusso was waiting for her youngest, Apollo, to come down the slide on Sunday but what she saw in his mouth at the top of the structure sent her into a panick. (CBC)

Police are warning parents to be cautious in the area and advise police if they come across anything that appears dangerous.

“Whether this was a calculated act by somebody or whether it was just a staggering level of negligence from someone leaving this type of thing behind, we’re still investigating,” Const. Craig Brister told CBC News.

In the meantime, Lorusso can’t help wondering what might have happened if she hadn’t spotted the pill in Apollo’s mouth, and remains nervous for other children who play in the area.

“It could have been maybe a minute later and that pill would have been gone,” she said. “We probably would have gone about our business in Kensington Market doing some shopping and he could have had some pretty horrible side-effects.”

Anyone with information is being asked to contact 14 Division at (416) 808-1400 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at (416) 222-TIPS.

CBC | Toronto News

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