Reason why slushy drinks can be dangerous for kids after two children almost die
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Parents have been issued an urgent warning over slushy drinks after two children almost died within just a matter of months of one another.
The likes of Beth Green, from Warwickshire, is working towards raising awareness over the health risks attached to the popular drinks after her four-year-old son was rushed to hospital and nearly died after drinking one.
Beth explained that her child, Albie, all of a sudden became unresponsive following an after-school trip to a bowling alley with a friend in October of last year.
After the two tots played their game, they proceeded to gulp down a small, strawberry-flavoured slushy but, after just a matter of minutes, Beth claimed her son's personality began to change.
"At about 4.15pm he started getting a bit tired and agitated, he didn't want to play anymore," the concerned mum, 24, recalled.
She continued: "We just thought he was tired and had a long week at school. When he got in the car he kept saying he was tired. He physically couldn't keep himself awake, his head kept dropping."
Beth and her partner Fred Pegg then attempted to alleviate his distress by taking the toddler to McDonald's, but Albie couldn't touch a bite of his meal.
It was then, she says, that her little boy began clawing at his own face and hallucinating.
"It was a really strange experience. He kept screaming 'no' and 'leave me alone' in his car seat. He was screaming then going floppy again," Beth explained.
"I thought 'maybe he has a virus and is agitated' but he started clawing at himself and couldn't keep himself awake. He wasn't responding."
The parents then rushed the toddler to A&E: "At this point, I don't even recall if he was breathing. He was a dead weight when I carried him through the door, he was unconscious. They were shaking, trying to wake him up but he wasn't responding.
"They took him to the resus room where they started giving him rescue breaths because he wasn't breathing by himself and his heartbeat was extremely low. They had to resuscitate him."
His parents didn't know if their son would make it through the night at one point, with a doctor telling them they could have lost him if they had gone home instead of heading to A&E.
Thankfully, Albie spent three days in hospital and was then allowed home after the slushy drink scare.
And that's not the only slushy scare story that's cropped up as of recent as another mum, Victoria Anderson, has called for a ban on selling slushies to children after her toddler 'collapsed and began fitting' shortly after after gulping the 'toxic' iced drink.
She was out shopping last month (4 January) with two of her five children when the nightmare unfolded and her youngest son, three-year-old Angus, had asked for a raspberry-flavoured drink from the local corner shop although he had 'never had a slushy before'.
Around 30 minutes later, Angus unexpectedly fell unconscious in another store, leaving Victoria fearing for his life.
Victoria, who lives in Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, said little Angus' body went 'limp and stone cold' as paramedics began working on the toddler.
After rushing to hospital, staff told Victoria that the slushy had caused glycerol toxicity - which left Angus in a 'drunk-like' state.
Thankfully, the incredible work of medics meant that the youngster was treated and that he went on to make a full recovery.
So - how on earth did a seemingly harmless slushy manage to put two little boys in hospital?
Well, medics said both tots most likely suffered from glycerol intoxication after drinking the slushy - a condition which can trigger sweating, irritability, lethargy, shock, hypoglycaemia and loss of consciousness.
Last year, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) introduced new guidance on slushy drinks because they contain this additive and recommended that they should not be sold to children aged four or younger.
Glycerol, which is also referred to as E422, is a key ingredient in slushies as they stop the liquid from freezing solid, preserving the slush-like consistency, while also acting as a sugar-free sweetener.
While the ingredient is generally of low toxicity and the amount used in the slushies does not affect adults or older children - younger children's bodies can't process the glycerol the same way due to their difference in body weight in comparison.
So, because of this, the so glycerol builds up inside them.
The FSA says that very high levels of exposure 'intoxicates' children and that this is typically brought on when 'several of these products are drunk by a child in a short space of time'.
However, children under the age of four could be tipped over the edge of the 'safe' threshold after drinking just one 350ml drink which contains glycerol.
The FSA's Head of Additives, Adam Hardgrave, said: "While the symptoms of glycerol intoxication are usually mild, it is important that parents are aware of the risks – particularly at high levels of consumption.
"It is likely that there is under-reporting of glycerol intoxication, as parents may attribute nausea and headaches to other factors.
"We are grateful to those manufacturers who have already taken steps to reduce levels of glycerol, and to those who have already told us they will be adopting our new guidelines."