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Kitchener daycare operator charged with poisoning two children

Rafal Gers/for The Globe and M

A 32-year-old Ontario woman who used to operate a home daycare is facing charges after police alleged she poisoned two children.

Waterloo Regional Police allege the suspect gave the children an over-the-counter eye-care product that can cause abnormal drowsiness, low blood pressure, respiratory problems and decreased heart rates in young children.

The woman operated a home daycare in Kitchener from 2009 to 2011 and investigators are concerned there may be more alleged victims.

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"The accused had access to children during the period in which she operated the informal daycare, so as a precaution for public safety, we want to make the public aware that anyone who maybe subscribed to her services at some point and has had a child who has become sick with similar symptoms [should] give police a call," Waterloo Regional Police spokesman Olaf Heinzel said.

The suspect in March was caring for a friend's child, who was taken to hospital with "serious physical symptoms," such as breathing difficulties, drowsiness and a decreased heart rate, police said.

The child recovered, but had to be taken back to hospital at a later date with similar symptoms.

Detectives discovered that another child who had been in the woman's care in July, 2010, had similar symptoms, and recovered after a few days in hospital, police said.

Christine Allen, who also goes by Christine Keilbar, is charged with two counts each of aggravated assault and administering a noxious substance.

Mr. Heinzel would not name the eye-care product or say why police allege it was given to the children.

"We can't speak at this point as to why the individual may have administered this product," he said. "It's still too early in the investigation and it's now before the courts. That will be something that will be determined through the process in the court system."

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The day care did not have a name, Mr. Heinzel said, and it is not known how many children Ms. Allen cared for during the three years it operated.

Ms. Allen was arrested during the weekend and ordered to remain in custody after a first court appearance. She is set to appear in court again on Wednesday in Kitchener.

Mr. Heinzel could not say if she has a lawyer yet.

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