When you’re a small child, everything that can be swallowed has the potential to be dangerous. These small seemingly harmless coin or button batteries can be deadly if they are swallowed.

If a small lithium battery gets stuck in a child’s throat, the saliva triggers an electrical current. This causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the esophagus as quickly as 15 minutes and certainly in as little as two hours.

What’s even worse is that the tissue can continue to deteriorate even after the battery has been removed. Once the damage has been done to the soft tissue, the process of repairing the wound is painful and can require a feeding tube, a breathing tube and multiple surgeries. Because of this, timely action to remove the battery is the highest priority.

Our biggest hurdle is that spotting the problem can be extremely difficult. Children can usually breathe with the battery in their throat, and unless you or someone else witnessed them swallowing the battery it is a guessing game to isolate the cause of your child’s symptoms.

We emphasize this simple warning again and again: keep these batteries safely secured inside devices, stored out of reach, and protect your child from dangerous access to button batteries. This is the best way to insure their safety.

We found a great diagram that can be helpful to better understand treatment options for a swallowed button battery.

We’ve found some of our information on the following sites and have included them here for your reference. We encourage you to continue reading and learning as much as possible for the safety of all children. The more adults that are aware, the more children can be protected.


24-hour Button Battery Ingestion Hotline: 202-625-3333


CPSC works to ensure the safety of consumer products.


Safe Kids Worldwide is a nonprofit organization working to help families and communities keep kids safe from injuries.

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