Sunday 18 March 2018

School children hospitalised after swimming pool incident

Caitlin McBride, Louise Kelly and Geraldine Gittens

SIX school children have been hospitalised after an incident in a swimming pool.

Some 25 primary school children, all under the age of nine, were at a swim class at NUI Maynooth when they were evacuated after they were exposed to chemicals after a maintenance leak, has confirmed.

The principal of the school involved has confirmed that six children are in hospital this afternoon.

Marie Hand, principal of Educate Together in Maynooth, told that a total of 25 kids from third and fourth class were in the pool when the incident occurred - and they started complaining about vapours

“Some of our own staff noticed that the kids were starting to cough, and then one or two said that they were feeling nauseous,” she said.

“So they were immediately taken out of the pool and evacuated from the building."

The 25 children were in the pool at NUI Maynooth when chemicals being used near the water entered the ventilation system.

It’s understood the incident occurred at approximately 10.30am this morning.

Due to their age, six of the children were taken to hospital as a 'precautionary measure'.

A spokesperson for NUI Maynooth confirmed to "Six children are being held as a precautionary measure. This morning, there was a maintenance operation going on in a lab beside a swimming pool. Some vapour from the chemicals got into the air condition system, which then passed into the swimming pool area.

"The pool was evacuated immediately."

The school principal confirmed that two children are being assessed at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, two in Tallaght and two in Temple Street.

"All the children were seen by a doctor from NUI Maynooth, and then further assessed by the ambulance service," Ms Hand said.

"Six were taken to hospital, and the rest were brought back to the school. Their parents have come in and they have gone home."

She added that she did not have word on the condition of the children in hospital - but said it was purely a precautionary measure to admit them.

One unit of Kildare Fire Brigade attended the scene, according to a spokesperson for Kildare Fire Brigade.

A triage was established close to the scene and a doctor and nurse from the nearby NUI campus attended.

NUI Maynooth released a statement, saying: "NUI Maynooth can confirm an incident occurred at approximately 10.30am this morning at the campus swimming pool when vapour from the swimming pool’s plant room entered the air conditioning system during a maintenance operation. 

"The swimming pool was immediately evacuated and 25 children present were assessed by both the University’s Medical Team and the National Ambulance Service. Due to the age of the children (under nine) they were brought to hospital to be assessed. 19 children have since returned to their school with 6 children remaining in hospital as a precautionary measure.

This incident is being investigated by the University and the Health & Safety Authority."

The children from the Educate Together school have been taking part in a six-week swimming course at the university.

Irish Independent

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