A 6-year-old Oregon girl suffered from severe nicotine poisoning after her parents accidentally gave her liquid nicotine used for electronic cigarettes instead of her liquid pain reliever.
As reported by Live Science Thursday, the child survived, but researchers warn that nicotine poisoning can be fatal and become more common as e-cigarettes rise in popularity.
“As electronic cigarette use proliferates, children are now increasingly at risk of toxicity from ingestion of much larger quantities of nicotine from highly concentrated refill liquid, as in our case study,” Dr. Matthew Noble, an emergency medicine physician at Oregon Health and Science University, said.
The girl sprained her ankle and was taking children’s Motrin for pain relief. When the bottle finished, the girl’s mother used it to store liquid nicotine to use in an e-cigarette.
The child’s father was unaware the Motrin bottle contained nicotine, so he gave the child a 10-milliliter dose of the liquid for her pain. The girl immediately felt a burning sensation in her mouth and throat. Poison control was immediately called, which led to the discovery of liquid nicotine in the girl’s system.
Before the paramedics arrived, the girl lost consciousness and began involuntarily jerking her limbs. She later regained consciousness, but did not respond to questions or commands.
The report stated that the girl then began to vomit and her pulse dropped from 150 beats per minute to 60 beats per minute.
The girl was then admitted to the intensive care unit and placed on a ventilator overnight.
Researchers tested the liquid nicotine that the child ingested, and estimated that the concentration of nicotine in the original product was more than double the concentration listed on the product label when purchased.
The full report is published in the January issue of the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine.