Is It Safe to Vape Around Children?

My friend told me I shouldn’t vape around the kids I’m babysitting, but why? I thought it’s OK because there’s no secondhand smoke.
– Marlin*

It’s not safe to use vape pens or e-cigarette devices around kids. The vapor from e-cigarettes has chemicals in it that can be harmful to kids.

There’s another serious problem with e-smoking devices: Kids can get poisoned if they drink the liquid in nicotine delivery devices or refills. Kids can even get sick if the liquid gets on their skin. Because the candy flavors in many vaping solutions appeal to kids, a child might drink enough liquid to get seriously ill or even die.

Your best approach is to leave all vaping supplies at home. That way you can’t accidentally put a device or refill where a child might find it. If you leave a device or cartridge in your bag by mistake, lock it away like you would cleaning products, knives, and other dangerous items.

Parents should always keep their e-cigs or vaping devices locked up. But as more and more people vape, there’s a chance kids might find the devices or refills.

Call your local poison center (1-800-222-1222) right away if you think a child has been exposed to e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine. Signs of nicotine poisoning include:

  • The child feels sick or is throwing up.
  • The child looks pale.
  • The child is sweating or drooling.
  • The child has the jitters, is shaky, and has a fast heartbeat.

In large enough amounts, nicotine liquid can cause kids to have seizures or pass out. If that happens, call 911 immediately.

Even adults can be poisoned from being in contact with too much nicotine liquid. As you use or refill your device, be sure not to get any solution on your skin. When it’s time to throw away a device or solution cartridge, follow the disposal instructions on the product label. That way nicotine solutions won’t end up where kids or pets can get them.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: June 2015

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.