Electronic devices are part of our daily life. The little coin-sized batteries that run these devises are a source of amazement and wonder; how can so much power come from such a tiny shiny object? Unfortunately, in the hands of a young child they can be harmful and even deadly if swallowed.
Each year, about 3,500 button battery swallowing cases are reported to U.S. poison control centers. The coin-sized batteries children swallow come from many devices, most often mini remote controls. Other places you may find them are: singing greeting cards, watches, bathroom scales and flameless candles. It only takes a second for a young child to get hold of one and put in his or her mouth.
The batteries can become lodged in the throat, burning the esophagus. Kids can still breathe with the button battery in their throats. It may not be obvious at first that something is wrong. It takes as little as two hours to cause severe burns once a coin-sized button battery has been swallowed. Once burning begins, damage can continue even after the battery is removed. Repairing the damage is painful and can require multiple surgeries.
Top Tips for Battery Safety
- SEARCH your home, and any place your child goes, for gadgets that may contain button batteries.
- SECURE button battery-controlled devices out of sight and reach of children and keep loose batteries locked away.
- SHARE this life-saving information with caregivers, friends, family members and sitters.
Keeping these batteries out of reach and secured in devices is key, but if a child swallows a battery go to your local emergency room immediately. Do not let the child eat or drink until a chest x-ray can determine if a battery is present and do not induce vomiting. Tell doctors and nurses that your child may have swallowed a battery. If possible, provide the medical team with the identification number found on the battery’s package.