How to prevent children from accidental e-liquid exposures

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To combat instances of e-liquid exposure and accidental ingestions among children, the FDA is offering tips for best storage and safety practices for those that regularly use and handle these products, according to a recent press release.

How to prevent children from accidental e-liquid exposures | Image Credit: © neillockhart - © neillockhart - stock.adobe.com.

How to prevent children from accidental e-liquid exposures | Image Credit: © neillockhart - © neillockhart - stock.adobe.com.

Liquids containing nicotine in electronic cigarettes or “vapes” could result in injury or death if a child gets ahold of them and ingests them, prompting the FDA to release tips to prevent these instances.1

Coma, respiratory arrest, seizure, and death can occur in children who drink e-liquids. Exposure can also take place through skin contact, according to the FDA. The agency stated in a press release that there were 7043 reports of e-cigarette or e-liquid exposures in children from April 2022 to March 2023. Of those, approximately 88% of happened in children younger than 5 years.1

Health care professions can inform parents who vape of the following tips and remind them to properly store e-liquids (safe, elevated location, out of the view of children) of any kind, and after every use.1

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released information from a study stating monthly e-cigarette unit sales increased by 46.6% from January of 2020 (15.5 million units) to December of 2022 (22.7 million units).2

With an increased prevalence of e-cigarettes, parents should save the Poison Control HELP telephone number (1-800-222-1222) and be prepared to contact Poison Control if an accidental ingestion occurs.1

To help limit children’s exposure to e-liquids, proper handling should be a staple. Here are FDA-recommended tips for proper e-liquid storage:1

  • Keep e-liquids in their original containers. According to the FDA, “this will help children know to avoid these products.”
  • Make sure all product caps are locked while not in use, and twist tunable caps until they won’t twist anymore, ensuring the container is locked.
  • Avoid contact on the skin or in eyes, which can cause irritation and burning. If an accidental spill occurs, wash the area of skin in contact with the e-liquid with soap and water. If an accidental exposure gets in the eyes, rinse them thoroughly with water. If there are changes in vision, seek medical attention.
  • If an accidental splash or spill occurs, be sure to clean using soap and water.
  • Call the poison Control number listed above if a child drinks e-liquids, or if you suspect that a child may have ingested e-liquids. Liquid nicotine can be poisonous.

References:

  1. How to properly store e-liquids and prevent accidental exposure of e-liquids to children. FDA. June 22, 2023. Accessed July 5, 2023. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/how-properly-store-e-liquids-and-prevent-accidental-exposure-e-liquids-children
  2. U.S. E-cigarette sales climbed during 2020-2022. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. June 22, 2023. Accessed July 5, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2023/p0622-ecigarettes-sales.html
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