Nationwide Children's Hospital is warning parents about a spike in poisonings related to young children and lamp oil.
According to the hospital, the number of phone calls to the Central Ohio Poison Center about oil in lamps such as tiki torches has jumped 180 percent this summer. The calls specifically relate to children 5 and younger. As of mid-July, 14 calls had been received this year compared with 10 at the same time in 2015.
"Lamp oil found in backyard tiki torches looks like apple juice to kids, making it seem safe and kid-friendly," said Marcel Casavant, MD, chief of Toxicology at Nationwide Children's Hospital, in the announcement. "Children are naturally curious, and they are drawn to bright colors and pretty packaging, which brings them into contact with poisonous substances." Casavant also is medical director of the Central Ohio Poison Center.
According to Nationwide Children's, these liquid fuels contain hydrocarbons, which have physical properties that make them easy to choke on. If even a small amount is swallowed, the hydrocarbons can enter the lungs and cause difficulty breathing, pneumonia, respiratory failure leading to the need for ventilator support, and coma.
Parents are advised to store tiki torch fuel and other products containing hydrocarbons (including furniture oil, waterproofing agents and gasoline additives) in their original containers and out of reach or in a locked cabinet.
If you suspect a child has ingested a poison, call the national Poison Center at 800-222-1222.