Toddler bear-sprays Winnipeg infant

An infant was taken to hospital after being doused by a toddler with bear spray in Winnipeg.

An infant was taken to hospital after being doused by a toddler with bear spray in Winnipeg.

The two-year-old toddler found the can Tuesday evening at a residence on Selkirk Avenue in the city's North End and discharged it, according to police.

Some of the toxic substance struck the two-month-old infant, who was taken to hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The toddler was also treated for some of the effects of the spray.

Police said the can of spray was found in a bedroom. A 36-year-old woman is now in police custody and facing weapons-related charges for having the bear-repellent at the home.

Police wouldn't say whether the woman was the children's mother but did say she had two court orders prohibiting her from having firearms or weapons of any kind.

Child and Family Services officials are now involved in the case.

Bear spray, also called pepper spray, contains a chemical compound that irritates the eyes to cause tears, pain, swelling, coughing and even temporary blindness.

It is considered a prohibited weapon in Canada, yet is available over the counter in many outdoor supply stores.

Store owners are required to apply for a pesticide dealer's licence to sell it. And people purchasing it are required to sign a form that allows the provincial government to track who's buying it.

Police have also seen bear spray sold over the internet, according to Winnipeg police chief Keith McCaskill.

However, he has stopped short of calling for a total ban on the sale of bear spray in Manitoba, saying it has legitimate uses in remote and rural areas of the province.