KENT – A Seattle-area mother says her 22 month-old ingested e-Liquid and it sent her to the hospital.
"It took seconds," Nicole Oliver said about her 22 month-old daughter Winona. "Her eyes were rolling back in her head and she was just flopping around."
The vapor, which goes into e-cigarettes, can smell and taste like fruity flavors such as watermelon.
Dr. Alexander Garrard, Clinical Managing Director for the Washington Poison Center, said that's part of the problem they're seeing.
"Kids can't differentiate that this is nicotine. They don't know what that is," he said. "It's pretty alarming - the trend that we've seen in e-cigarette exposures, especially amongst kids. Our call volume at the Washington Poison Center has increased now over 700 percent."
Some of the companies that make the liquid provide childproof packaging, but the industry standard doesn't call for it yet.
"What we're finding now is that there's a greater proportion of kids, especially in the ages of 1 and 3 years, that are getting into it," Garrard said. "Over 80 percent of the calls that we get at the poison center in regards to eCigarettes are kids 1 to 3 years of age."
Nicole and Winona's father are always very careful about putting the liquid away. But somehow Winona got her hands on a 15 ml bottle and drank half of it, her mother said.
"Poison control [said] she has way over the OD limit," she said. "You'd pick up her arm and it would fall."
She wants to warn other parents that, as vigilant as her household is, it just took seconds to happen. She said Winona and her 3 year-old brother were finishing up getting ready as she was coming downstairs behind them.
"She probably can't open the vial but my son he can. It was a twist-off," she said. "For them to run downstairs to grab their shoes and in the time for me to come downstairs wasn't even a minute."
Dr. Alexander Garrard said officials at the Department of Health are working to develop regulation, warning labels and child resistant packaging on a lot of these products.
"We're going to have to. Because at the rate these cases are coming into the poison center and to the area hospitals, it's only a matter of time really before some child gets enough of it and has a death associated with it," he said.
Winona recovered quickly at a local hospital. Dr. Garrard said the side effects of nicotine ingestion can include nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, agitation, coma and ultimately death if the child ingests too much.
"It doesn't take a whole lot for a child to become symptomatic or to show symptoms with these substances," he said. "If we don't do something soon, this trend is only going to get worse."