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Doctors: Toddlers could get severely sick, die from drinking vape juice

While the CDC is advising vape users to cut the habit until they find out what’s causing nationwide vaping related lung illnesses, doctors are warning users to keep their vaping liquids out of toddlers’ reach.

KRDO crews traveled to Children’s Hospital Colorado Aurora to speak with vaping specialist and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Dr. G Sam Wang. Wang says it can be extremely dangerous if a small child drinks vaping juice.

“Typically, those e-cigarette cartridges can have high amounts of nicotine. It doesn’t take much before a small child can get sick,” said Wang.

Wang says if children under the age of 6 drink e-cigarette liquids with small quantities of nicotine, they might experience nausea, vomiting, a fast heart rate, and discomfort.

But if they ingest liquids with high quantities of nicotine they could become severely ill, or worse.

“[With] large ingestion we can ultimately see seizures, low heart rate, they can actually get some paralysis,” explains Wang. “And then, again, there can be really poor outcome such as death.”

According to the managing director at the Rocky Mountain Poison Center, Shireen Banerji, PharmD, the number of cases of children ingesting vaping liquid in Colorado has gone up in the last few years.

There were 42 cases reported in 2017, 69 in 2018, and 75 so far this year.

Wang says many of these cases involve toddlers.

“Most accidental ingestions happen in kids that are less than 2 or 3 years or age, because they’re mobile, they get around, crawl, walk, they get around, put things in their mouth. Some of those labels can look very appealing. The flavored cartridges can smell just like candy, fruit, very sweet,” he said.

How is preventable? He says you should store nicotine products how you would any other drug: keep them high up and out of reach in child resistant packaging.

Wang says if your child does drink vape juice, you should call 911 or the poison control center. He says there’s no antidote, but doctors will provide supportive care.

“There’s nothing that’s going to reverse their symptoms or make them better immediately. Our job is to make sure they recover, make sure their blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen is normal,” Wang explained.