Learn About Button Batteries
Simple Actions Can Save Lives!
Electronic devices are part of daily life. We don’t go more than a few minutes without using one. It only takes a second for a toddler to get hold of one and put in his/her mouth. Technology is such an integral part of our lives, that it would be nearly impossible to get rid of all electronic devices. The real danger lies hidden within many household items that use small lithium batteries, often called coin or button batteries. Items that contain button batteries with compartments that are easily opened can be a deadly household hazard. However, taking simple actions can protect children from ingesting the batteries by accident.
Many of these small, round, coin or
Many devices that use these lithium batteries have easy-to-open battery compartments, and because they are simple household items, they are often left within the reach of children. Ironically, they may even be inside a favorite play-thing or something used to entertain kids.
So, what are the symptoms to look for?
The symptoms that can occur when a child has swallowed a button battery are similar to the common cold or flu virus including fevers, lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing and increased mucus production. Unless you have seen evidence of an open battery compartment or someone witnessed the child ingesting a battery, the symptoms are so similar that it can be nearly impossible to decipher the difference.
Will my child be choking after ingesting the button battery?
Not always. The anatomy of the esophagus and trachea (airway) is such that when a child swallows the button battery, it usually gets lodged at a point below where the trachea branches off from the esophagus. The battery can be small enough to pass by without disrupting the airway.
What should I do if I know my child swallowed a button battery?
If you know your child swallowed a battery, it is vital that you take your child to the nearest Emergency Department immediately. DO NOT wait to see if the battery will pass, as this will increase the damage and delay chances of recovery. The chemical make-up of lithium batteries can start causing damage in as little as 15-minutes, with more sever burning of the esophagus within as little as two hours of ingestion.
What do we do once we get to the hospital?
54% of fatalities have been associated with misdiagnosis due to non-specific symptoms. Vigilance is key. Speak up and ask the doctor to look carefully for the specific characteristics of a button battery. It is easy to assume that an object on film is a coin, a button, or other small round object. However, though a button battery can be difficult to identify, it can be seen clearly if you know what to look for; ask for reassurance that the x-ray is read specifically to rule out a battery.
How can I secure my home?
At Emmett’s Fight we know it is impossible to remove of every lithium button battery from your life while your children are small. However, being pro-active and taking precautions can be enough. Use tape to secure battery compartments, be conscious of placing items out of the reach of little hands and take inventory of all the items in your life that contain button batteries. Just as important is to teach your children that batteries are dangerous, just like teaching them “hot” around the stove, for example, especially when you have older children in your home that can help teach the younger ones and tell you when they’ve seen something happen.