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Toddler Died From Drinking Mum's Liquid Nicotine

A young boy died in Melbourne after consuming his mother's liquid nicotine while her head was turned.

The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, died aged 19 months last June after consuming the substance his mother had poured into bottles of vape juice for smoking later, the Coroners Court of Victoria was told on Monday.

Coroner Philip Byrne said it was not a case of neglect but a "momentary lapse of vigilance" by the woman, adding everything possible had been done to save the toddler before he died in a Melbourne hospital.

Liquid nicotine, or 'vape juice', is used in electronic cigarettes -- battery-operated devices that deliver nicotine, flavourings, and other chemicals through an inhaled aerosol. There are also electronic cigarettes available that do not contain nicotine.

While the devices are often marketed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, their use remains a controversial issue within Australia's health sector.

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

The tragic loss of the 19-month-old Victorian child follows two similar incidents overseas -- a two-year-old Israeli girl in 2013, and a one-year-old child in the US in 2014.

A study conducted by Queensland researchers earlier this year revealed there were 202 poisonings from e-cigarettes between 2009 and 2016 -- nearly 40 percent of which were child-related.

“The potential risks (of nicotine poisoning in children) should not be underestimated," the authors said.

"Almost all exposures of children to nicotine-containing e-cigarette liquid require their hospitalisation for monitoring possible toxic effects.”