The Nebraska Regional Poison Center warns that kids might accidentally drink the amber-colored fuel, thinking it’s juice.
Registered nurse Tammy Noble says parents need to educate the entire family on the dangers of these “look-alikes” as preventing such accidental poisonings is vital.
“Try to keep these in the original container,” she says. “Don’t put it in a pop bottle and try to transfer it into the tiki torch that way because other people might come along and see it in the glass or the pop bottle and think it’s something other than the torch fuel.”
Noble says the torch fuel smells like kerosene and usually comes in clear plastic bottles.
“We’ve had exposures with children and the kids, obviously, cannot read the label so they think it looks like apple juice and they’ll take a sip of it, not even paying attention to the smell,” Noble says.
It may just take a taste of the fuel for it to slip into the lungs and cause choking, coughing, difficulty breathing and possibly pneumonia. The tiki torch fuel contains a hydrocarbon, which is similar to lamp oil and gasoline, which Noble says can be fatal.
“Make sure these types of products are kept in a locked cabinet, not accessible to children, but also making sure we don’t keep these in the same areas we keep food products, so don’t have these sitting on the kitchen counter. That’s just waiting for a mistake to happen,” Noble says.
The Nebraska Regional Poison Center is based in Omaha and is staffed round-the-clock at 800-222-1222.
For non-emergencies, visit: www.nebraskapoison.com