More and more products containing tiny batteries are ending up in the stomachs of small children across the country causing serious injuries and in some cases death. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, each year 2,800 kids end up in emergency rooms after swallowing button batteries – one child every three hours.
The small batteries appear in musical greeting cards, flameless candles, watches, calculators, games and countless toys. We know small children love to explore, take things apart, and put everything in their mouth. The button batteries are so small you may not notice your child has swallowed one.
From a parent’s perspective it’s difficult to tell your child has swallowed a battery, because he or she may not have any symptoms. Children who’ve swallowed a battery may get a stomach ache or fever. After about four hours, damage to the child’s esophagus and stomach has already occurred and sometimes repairs mean painful surgeries.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning on button batteries back in 1983 and continue to work with manufacturers on how to make sure they don’t end up in the wrong hands.
“These incidents are preventable and CSPC is working to get ahead of this emerging hazard quickly,” CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said in 2011.
For now it is up to parents and caregivers to ensure children are not handling button batteries. Parents should keep products containing the batteries out of reach of children and properly dispose of them.
If you suspect your child has swallowed a battery, get medical attention immediately. Don’t try to get your child to vomit or to eat or drink anything. For more information, contact the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 202-625-3333.