Friday, January 15, 2016

An Important Reminder on the Dangers of Button Batteries

A year ago we ran a blog on button batteries and the dangers they pose to young children. In recent months there have been news stories on the dangers of button batteries. Most recently, a two-year-old little girl lost her life. You can read her story here.

An example of how a button battery becomes
lodged in the esophagus.
It’s important for everyone to understand the dangers that button batteries pose to young children so let’s start with the basics. Button batteries (aka disc batteries), are 8-23 mm in diameter and are found in a variety of household products such as hearing aids and handheld devices. But they are also found in many toys that children receive during the holidays. Because of their common presence in the home and due to their small size, there is a risk that button batteries may be swallowed by children. (The majority of button battery ingestions involve children 0-5 years in age.)

These batteries pose a danger when they get stuck in the esophagus, leading to serious injury and in rare cases, death. Once lodged, the chemicals in the battery start burning the surrounding tissue. Poison control centers across the United States report that about 3,500 button batteries are swallowed each year. In Texas alone, there have been over 2,200 cases since 2000.

If a button battery is ingested, symptoms can include vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, difficulty breathing and swallowing. Many times, swallowed batteries pass through the intestines and safely exit the body. However in some cases, they can easily get lodged in the esophagus and cause serious damage. It is best to keep button batteries up, away and out of reach of children. Parents should also secure the battery compartments of products in which button batteries are used and never leave batteries lying around loose or allow children to play with them.

If your child ingests a battery, you should immediately call a poison center at 1-800-222-1222.

Dial 9-1-1 immediately if someone: 

•Stops breathing. 


•Has a seizure.

And remember to never induce vomiting. For more information, call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222. Poison centers are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year for poisoning emergencies and for informational calls, too.