Number of kids accidentally ingesting liquid nicotine on the rise

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The number of kids ingesting liquid nicotine from e-cigarettes is on the rise. In the Hoosier State, the poison control center is getting more calls from parents whose young kids are finding ways to break into the bottles.

Most liquid nicotine bottles are brightly colored and come in graphic packaging that depicts fun, fruity flavors inside. It may look like candy, but the bottles of liquid nicotine are used for e-cigarettes.

Each year, the state's poison center gets about 100 calls for liquid nicotine ingestion. About half of the calls are for kids.

Dr. Blake Froberg, a medical toxicologist with Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, said the majority of the kids accidentally drinking liquid nicotine are under the age of six.

"You can see where kids will have a lot of vomiting or diarrhea from this. Some of the more concerning cases that have been reported where kids have even had seizures or changes in the way their heart would work," Dr. Froberg explained.

The bottles of liquid nicotine are legally required to be child proof. The ones distributed by Sugar Creek Bottling Co. and Indy E-Cigs have more than one safety feature in place.

Owner Shadi Khoury said his company takes safety protocols very seriously. As a pioneer of bottling and selling liquid nicotine in the state, Khoury said they provide more safety and tampering protections than required by the state or FDA. Even with all the protections in place, Khoury said a determined kid could still get to the liquid inside the bottle.

He said it's up to parents to make sure the bottles stay out of the hands of their children.

"Treat it like a medication. Keep it in the cabinet that a child can’t reach. Keep it out of their line of sight, because these bottles can look appealing," Khoury said.

Even if your child has ingested or touched a very small amount of liquid nicotine, doctors encourage you to call the poison center and they can determine if a child needs to be taken to the hospital. The number is 800-222-1222.

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