Button Batteries

An alert to parents on the danger of button batteries:   Every 3 hours a child shows up in a U.S. emergency room with a coin-shaped battery that’s been swallowed or placed in the mouth, ears or nose.  An increasing number of children are swallowing the button batteries that power everything from remote controls to watches, toys, games, hearing aids, calculators, flashlights, musical greeting cards, and other electronic devices. Parents should consider taping battery compartments closed so children can’t get to the batteries inside.

With new, more powerful batteries being sold, the issue is no longer poisoning from the lithium inside.  The problem is the current that is created by the battery when it stops on the way to the stomach in the esophagus in less than 2 hours.  The moisture in the esophagus can spark a micro current in the 3-volt 20 mm lithium batteries lodged there.

“That will lead to cell death and eventually burn a hole right through the esophagus,”
Smith says. “And that will lead to long term scarring and stricture. Even worse, there are some cases where it eroded right into the aorta and the child bled to death. These are horrific outcomes that need to be prevented.”

“Serious damage can occur in less than two hours. 
If parents have any suspicion that their child has swallowed a button battery – even if they’re not sure – they need to take the child immediately to the emergency room to get an X-ray to see if the button battery is stuck in the esophagus... This can’t wait till the next morning.”  (NBC's John Yang report, Today Show, May 14, 2012.   This report was published in Pediatrics, Dr. Gary Smith, Director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, May 2012)


Additional Resources

Dangerous Toy List.  View this list and a toy safety report every Christmas at http://uspirg.org/issues/toy-safety  (U. S. Public Interest Group).  

ConsumerDangers.Com   
Protecting Consumers - Keep your family Safe.
Consumer products and Medical dangers.
Defective, unsafe, or harmful goods or products…
Baby/children products, drugs, medical devices,
household chemicals, televisions, furniture, gun safety....  
http://www.consumerdangers.com/

Dangerous Toy List. 
View this list and a toy safety report every Christmas at http://uspirg.org/issues/toy-safety  (U. S. Public Interest Group).  

Fischer-Price and Mattel toys.  Toys with lead paint hazard can be viewed at http://service.mattel.com/us/recall.asp 

Healthy Toys.  View a list of hundreds of toys tested for lead, arsenic, mercury, bromine, cadmium, etc. at   http://healthytoys.org.  Babies and young children are the most vulnerable populations because their brains and bodies are still developing, and because they frequently put toys into their mouths. 

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  View products that could be harmful to children and families (from toys to chairs and drinking glasses), at http://cpsc.gov/.   Parents may also sign up to receive email alerts from this agency.   1-800-638-2772. 
Toxic Chemicals.  View information in the state of Washington:
http://pollutioninpeople.org 
Washington State Dept. of Health
http://doh.wa.gov