Dec. 15, 2014 -- A 1-year-old child in New York State is believed to be the first youngster in the United States to die of poisoning from liquid nicotine, the substance used in electronic cigarettes.
Police said the toddler was found unresponsive last Tuesday after ingesting liquid nicotine at a home in Fort Plain, N.Y., and later died in hospital, ABC News reported.
The death is believed to be a "tragic accident," according to a statement released by Fort Plain police. They did not say whether the liquid nicotine was associated with an e-cigarette.
With the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, health officials are concerned there could be more fatal incidents like this one if steps aren't taken to protect children, ABC News reported.
Brightly-colored liquid nicotine comes in flavors such as gummy bear or cotton candy, which is appealing to youngsters, health officials warn.
"One teaspoon of liquid nicotine could be lethal to a child, and smaller amounts can cause severe illness, often requiring trips to the emergency department," the American Association of Poison Control centers in a statement, ABC News reported. "Despite the dangers these products pose to children, there are currently no standards set in place that require child-proof packaging."
In recent years, there's been a sharp rise in the number of liquid nicotine-related calls to U.S. poison control centers.
Just a small amount of nicotine can cause seizures and other dangerous symptoms in children, Dr. Donna Seger, director of the poison control center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told ABC News.