Slush drink: Child critically ill and unresponsive after drink at Gravity at Xscape in Milton Keynes

Warnings have been made about dangers of frozen slush drinks after a child fell seriously ill
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A young girl was rushed to hospital when she become critically ill and unresponsive after drinking a slushie drink at an MK trampoline park.

The three-year-old collapsed some time after drinking the frozen drink during a family trip to Gravity at Xscape on Friday. She was rushed to hospital, where she remained unconscious for hours as doctors battled to counteract the effects of glycerol, the ingredient used by manufacturers to prevent the drink from freezing solid.

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She was reportedly having seizures and hallucinating. The girl’s anxious family posted about her plight on social media and it prompted a huge response from other parents, demanding that the drinks be banned.

NationalWorld's sister title The Milton Keynes Citizen spoke to Gravity bosses, who said they have taken steps to further increase warning signage about the dangers of such drinks following the incident. Nationally there has been reports of two other children collapsing and becoming very ill after drinking slushies, suffering from “glycerol intoxication”. This can happen when a large amount of the substance is consumed over a short period,

These cases, both in Scotland, led to intervention from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in August last year. They issued ‘voluntary industry guidance’ that the drinks should not be sold to children aged four and and children under 10 should not be offered free refills.

At Gravity MK there is a special ‘Slushy Jacks’ slush bar where people can pay £5.99 for a container and then use the bar to get unlimited refills of different flavours. The bar is unmanned.

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Gravity MK bosses, who buy the drinks from Coca-Cola, said they followed the guidance from the FSA as soon as it was issued and placed warning signs in the cafe area saying the drinks were not recommended to children aged four and under. The signs also state: Please be aware we do not offer free refills to persons aged 10 and under”.

A Gravity spokesperson said: “We are aware in the incident about the slush drink although it did not happen on our premises. The little girl collapsed elsewhere after leaving us. But numerous people contacted us following the reports about it on social media, wanting to bring it to our attention.”

The spokesperson said Gravity had this week the signage about the danger of slushies to make it “very visible indeed.”

"The signage was already visible but all we can do is follow the guidance and warn people. We cannot force people to follow advice. We take the safety of our customers very seriously and will be liaising with any authority that contacts us.”

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The little girl is this week said to be recovering from her ordeal. But it has left many people thinking the drinks should be banned completely, or that the use of glycerol in products marketed for children should be forbidden.

The Food Standards Agency website states: “At very high levels of exposure – typically when several of these products are drunk by a child in a short space of time – glycerol intoxication could cause shock, hypoglycaemia and loss of consciousness. Although glycerol is generally of low toxicity, there are concerns about the effect on young children when large quantities are consumed over a short period of time.”