A toddler who was the subject of an urgent search by police was last night located and treated for a severe asthma condition.
Police yesterday launched an appeal for information about the 2-year-old, who was taken from Tauranga Hospital by family members, sparking fears for his health.
The boy was admitted to hospital in the early hours of the morning for an asthma condition and was still requiring hourly treatment at the time he was taken.
It was believed his parents removed him shortly after the hospital's morning wards round and police became involved after fears his health would deteriorate if he didn't receive medical attention.
The head of paediatrics at Tauranga Hospital, Hugh Lees, said asthma was an unpredictable condition that could deteriorate at any time.
Dr Lees said it was the first time he had experience of family members taking a child despite instructions they needed to stay for additional treatment.
"It's a serious illness and can be life threatening."
The boy had been improving at hospital after treatment but still required medical attention when he was taken, sparking the search, Dr Lees said.
By 5.30pm, police advised hospital staff the boy was taken to a local GP where he was treated and discharged to go home.
"That's the best outcome," Dr Lees said.
Respiratory physician and medical adviser to the Asthma Foundation Kyle Perrin said asthma attacks were rarely fatal.