SureBaby Blog

‘Button’ Batteries a Danger to Children

Posted by Alissa Robson

When it comes to kids’ toys and the batteries that make them run, smaller isn’t always better.

A new study in the US shows that the number of emergency room visits has doubled in the past twenty years, due largely to ‘button batteries’ or the small, round batteries that are increasingly being used in children’s toys and objects with remote controls, as well as other devices such as hearing aids.

This type of battery is dangerous in two ways – first, in that its small size makes it easy for children to swallow, and second that it can cause electrical and chemical burns and even electrical shock, without showing any outward signs of damage.

“If a child swallows a button battery, the parent might not see it happen and the child might not have symptoms initially – and the clock is ticking,” said Gary Smith, who helped author the study and is also the head of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

He notes how he has seen children present with serious injuries caused by swallowing batteries in as little as two hours.

Given it’s unlikely that these batteries are going away any time soon (and will likely be used even more frequently), the best thing parents can do is take precautions to ensure their children are safe from accessing these batteries.

Suggestions include ensuring battery covers are tightly screwed on (or taped tightly when the covers are broken), disposing of dead batteries immediately and making sure devices that contain these batteries are kept away from children. Toys that use these batteries should not be given to young children at all.

If you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery, Smith also advises parents not to wait, but to head to the emergency room immediately for X-rays.

At SureBaby, we’d love to hear your tips for keeping swallowable objects – especially those as dangerous as batteries – out of the hands of your little ones. Leave us your tips in the Comments!

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