• Sat. Jun 10th, 2023


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‘Gold fish crackers’ exposed 3 Virginia toddlers to THC, sheriff says

Three Virginia toddlers were sickened last month by “gold fish crackers” that tested positive for THC, the psychoactive substance in cannabis, according to a statement from the Stafford County Sheriff.

The kids’ licensed home day care provider, 60-year-old Rebecca Swanner, surrendered her day care license and then surrendered to police on Thursday and was charged with three counts of cruelty and injury to children. Swanner was later released on $2,000 bond, the sheriff said.

Reached by telephone, Swanner declined to comment or provide an attorney’s name to NBC News.

On March 2, a deputy responded to Stafford Hospital Center where three 1-year-old children “were taken for treatment in the emergency room after their parents observed lethargic and uncoordinated behavior as well as glassy, bloodshot eyes.”

“Hospital staff quickly recognized the symptoms and testing confirmed each child had been exposed to THC,” the sheriff said.

A detective later conducted a search of Swanner’s home day care center and “collected gold fish crackers around the highchairs of the toddlers.”

“These crackers were sent to the lab for testing and confirmed the presence of THC,” the sheriff said.

According to a cached version of a Virginia Dept. of Social Services inspection report that was recently deleted, Swanner’s Stafford home received an unannounced day care inspection in 2017.

Inside, Swanner was found to be working with three assistants to provide care for 12 children ranging from 2 months to 5 years of age.

“The children were playing with age appropriate toys, having lunch, and laid down for rest. Lunch served today: chicken nuggets, green beans, apple slices or apple sauce, and milk,” the report said

“The immunizations for 9 pets were reviewed (one pet is too young to have yet received the rabies vaccination). All staff are current in first aid and CPR. There are no children receiving medication at day care,” the report said.

Five violations were recorded — including several for failing to maintain certain signed forms on immunizations and physicals and for failing to conduct immediate criminal history record reports on new hires or cross check them against a state database of child abusers — but the state noted plans of correction.