Button Battery Hazard


We at ivalueSafety.com want to share an article that raises awareness of a button battery hazard.  Button batteries are more prevalent during the holidays due to toys, greeting cards etc.  However, button batteries are contained in many common household items as well.  The article is written by a parent who, unfortunately, has experienced a child swallowing a button battery:

The holidays mean something a little bit different for everyone, but for me, it’s the time of year in which I step up my button battery awareness efforts into high gear.

My youngest son, Emmett, swallowed a button battery four years ago and has suffered serious injuries to his airway and lungs as a result. The damage to Emmett’s esophagus and airway led to 50+ surgeries, procedures and therapies. He’s on the upswing now but we have traveled a long road to get here. You can read more about his recovery from a button battery injury here,here, and here.

But as we learned the hard way, button batteries aren’t just concerning because they’re a swallowing hazard for young children. They’re most concerning because if they’re swallowed there’s a potential for them to become lodged in the esophagus or intestine, slowly leaking alkaline electrolytes and causing internal chemical burns. The National Capital Poison Center states that more than 3,500 people swallow button batteries every year.

My button battery outreach efforts increase significantly this time of year because many folks aren’t aware of how many items button batteries are in – especially toys and greeting cards—and just how dangerous those seemingly innocuous little batteries are, regardless of size. The potential for damage is greater, however, when the battery is 20 millimeters in diameter or larger (roughly the size of a nickel).

In Arizona where we live, I like to draw a parallel to swimming pools. Not everyone has a swimming pool but everyone is aware of the potential for drowning and the extra safety measures needed to keep kids safe. Similarly, everyone has button batteries in their home but not everyone is aware of what household items they’re in and how to protect their children from them.

Right now I’m most concerned about all of the trinkets we get for the holidays – blinking toys, headbands, tea lights, ornaments and greeting cards. Many of these items have a button battery in them without a screw to secure it in the device. Please don’t take any chances – get them out of your house! It will only take a moment for your baby or toddler to get a hold of one and put it in his or her mouth.

Then there are the everyday items in your house like remotes, thermometers, hearing aids, remote-entry keys, calculators, scales, toys and games.

I realize it is impossible to get rid of all of these items in your house, but there are additional steps you can take to protect your young children from swallowing them:

  • Identify the items that are in your house and keep them out of your child’s reach.
  • Lock up loose or spare batteries.
  • If the button battery is in something that you use and move every day, like a remote, duct tape it. This is not a perfect solution but it will make it more difficult for a young child to get it out.

We have a lot more work to do to spread awareness. 3,500 injuries a year is 3,500 too many. Please join me in this effort by sharing this post and spreading awareness about the dangers. With a little extra precaution, injuries from button batteries can be 100% prevented.

Click here for a link to the article.

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