Updated: Jul 23
Nicotine poisoning can occur when a newborn ingests or inhales large amounts of nicotine. At such a tender age, nicotine is highly toxic, so even small doses can be fatal.  Parents and other family members should be aware of the warning signs and symptoms of nicotine poisoning in infants and seek immediate medical attention if they have any reason to believe their child may be exposed to nicotine products.
What to Do in Case of Nicotine Poisoning
First and foremost, it's essential to remain calm and call 999 for an ambulance, take the person to a local emergency room, or dial a local emergency number. In addition to advice on what to do next, the Poison Control Center can advise on possible adverse effects and symptoms of nicotine use.
Also, it is essential to collect leftover bags and wrappers and have them readily available to poison control centres and emergency medical personnel. These may contain exact details and ingredients the baby may have been in contact with. This information can be used to properly treat the infant and assess the amount of nicotine consumed by the child.
If the baby is awake, alert, and conscious, feed the baby water or milk promptly. This technique should help dilute the nicotine in their stomach and reduce its absorption into the system. [2,3]
If your child is unresponsive, not breathing, or showing convulsions, call 999 or your local emergency number directly and promptly start CPR if you have the training to do so.
Symptoms of Nicotine Poisoning [4,5]
Depending on the amount of nicotine consumed, a variety of symptoms can occur, including:
• Nausea and vomiting
• Dizziness and confusion
• Fast heartbeat
Even if your newborn appears to be healthy, it's vital to remember that if you've seen them ingest a pouch of nicotine, they need immediate medical attention because nicotine can take several hours to take effect, and symptoms may not appear immediately.
It is crucial to see a doctor because even if the baby seems well, the signs of a nicotine overdose may not appear immediately and may take several hours.
In summary, if a newborn ingests a nicotine pouch, it is a complex issue that requires immediate medical attention. Parents and caregivers should call the poison control hotline or emergency services, provide the pouch and additional packaging details, give the baby milk or water while awake to dilute the nicotine, and start CPR if the child is unresponsive, not breathing, or having a seizure.
Pediatrics (2016) 137 (6): e20160041.https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2016-004
Benowitz NL. Nicotine addiction. N Engl J Med. Jun 17 2010;362(24):2295-2303.
Solarino B, Rosenbaum F, Riesselmann B, Buschmann CT, Tsokos M. Death due to ingestion of nicotine-containing solution: case report and review of the literature. Forensic Sci Int. Feb 25 2010;195(1-3):e19-22.
Hassink, S. "Pediatricians Applaud House Action on Children Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act," American Academy of Pediatrics, Press Release 7/23/2015.
Chatham-Stephens K, Law R, Taylor E, et al. Notes from the field: calls to poison centres for exposures to electronic cigarettes–United States