A 19-month-old toddler from Victoria has died after ingesting vaping nicotine while his mum’s back was turned.

It took only moments for the infant to accidentally consume the fatal dose of liquid nicotine.

At the recent inquest, the Coroners Court was told that the Melbourne mother, who was trying to quit smoking, had poured the liquid nicotine into bottles of vape juice.

Reports state, she only turned her back for a few moments to put some of the bottles away. But when she turned back to her son she found him with one of the bottles in his mouth.

The mum washed her son’s mouth out and called an ambulance but he died in hospital 11 days later.

This happened last June (2018) and now the courts are looking into the toddler’s tragic death.

During the court hearing, Coroner Phillip Byrne has said that the toddler consumed the toxic substance during a ‘momentary lapse of vigilance’ by the child’s mother.

It is also noted that the child was much loved and well cared for, and his family was shattered by what had happened.

Bryne will deliver his findings into the boy’s death at a later date.

Vaping: a warning to others

Liquid nicotine is extracted from tobacco for use in e-cigarettes.

Currently, it is illegal to buy or sell liquid nicotine in Australia. As such, the mother had imported her liquid nicotine from America, months earlier.

As part of the inquest, submissions from health experts and the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association have been put forward about whether liquid nicotine should be legalised in Australia.

While the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association wants to see the ban on vaping nicotine overturned, there remains a great deal of controversy around the substance.

Despite e-cigarettes being deemed as a safe alternative to tobacco smoking, it’s important to realise they still pose risks.

Concentrated liquid nicotine can be deadly if it is drunk or inhaled by a child.

In fact, research – led by Carol Wylie from the Queensland Poisons Information Centre – earlier this year revealed there were 202 poisonings from e-cigarettes between 2009 and 2016. Of these poisoning, nearly 40 percent were child-related.

woman smoking e-cigarette

Image source: Clinical advisor

The key messages regarding e-cigarettes

  • Adults must be vigilant when using liquid nicotine in places or homes where children reside.
  • The fatal potential risks of liquid nicotine should not be underestimated.
  • The toxic effects of nicotine poisoning can come as a result of ingestion, inhalation or even skin contact.
  • Almost all exposures of children to e-cigarette liquid nicotine require hospitalisation to monitor the toxic effects.

Perhaps even more important to note is the fact that in early 2019 the NSW Health Department released data showing that seven out of 10 ‘nicotine-free’ e-cigarette liquids were found to contain the dangerous substance.

There may be many parents out there, using what they believe to be non-nicotine e-cigarettes, and subsequently putting their children at greater risk of toxicity unsuspectingly.


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Author

Leanne is Mum Central's Editor-in-Chief. A former Sydneysider, she turned her ideas of a sea change into reality and now lives with her family in beautiful South-West WA. A lover of yoga and travel, like most mums, she’s on a quest to create a better work-life balance. When she’s not pulling socks out from behind the sofa or sponging little hand prints off the walls, she’s in the kitchen trying to dream up exciting lunch box ideas for her three cheeky monkeys.

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