NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 2-year-old spent seven hours in an emergency room after she ate a toxic berry she found in a Manhattan playground.
Yew berries are bright red eye candy to children who don’t know what they are.
Joy Vernon saw the berries in the water fountain in a Kips Bay playground, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
“I ate a poisoned berry,” the 2-year-old said after the scare.
Vernon was with her father at Asser Levy Playground on 23rd Street near FDR Drive.
He was standing just a few feet away from her when he saw her put something in her mouth. He called her mother, Natalie Gruppuso, who searched the internet and realized it was a poisonous yew berry.
She immediately called poison control.
“Poison control told us that they are quite toxic, can cause cardiac arrest and are lethal. So I met them on the way to NYU Hospital and we took her to the emergency room,” Gruppuso said.
Vernon was in the emergency room for seven hours before doctors determined she was not poisoned.
Gruppuso said doctors told her the toddler was lucky she didn’t ingest more.
Now, her parents want the city to remove the yew berry shrub from the park.
“I’m sure that these plants are in other parts of New York City, I know that they are prevalent in the North East. I’m really just, my goal is to have them ripped out of this park and have them replaced,” Gruppuso said.
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation said it does not plant yew shrubs in playgrounds and this is the first incident of its kind in the city, and it is “taking the matter seriously and reviewing the next best steps for addressing this species when found in playgrounds.”
“I understand kids can get hurt on the equipment, but the idea that something so innocuous as a plant that’s planted in a playground, that that could harm them, that was really terrifying,” Gruppuso said.