President and CEO, Parachute
Young children like to explore their environments with their senses. Touching and putting objectives in their mouths is one way to learn but this can be hazardous to their health.
Button batteries are those small circular batteries that can be mistaken by children for candy. They’re found in more and more products such as watches, computer games, greeting cards, remote controls, car key fobs, and hearing aids. These little batteries can cause very severe injuries and even death when they are swallowed. Significant medical issues are also seen when children put button batteries in their ears and noses.
You wouldn’t think that these small batteries could cause so much harm. But they do, especially if they get stuck, which most commonly occurs in the esophagus, as the battery can burn or destroy tissue. Children may or may not have symptoms after swallowing a button battery, and injuries can still happen if the battery has expired, is “dead” or even after the battery is removed from the child’s mouth, esophagus, or stomach. There is a short window of time to get help as serious injury can happen in as little as two hours.
If you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery, take them to emergency immediately. Don’t waste time; every minute is important! While getting to the Emergency Department give your child honey to swallow (10 ml = 2 teaspoons) every 10 minutes for up to six doses. Doctors recommend honey because it coats the battery and helps to reduce the damage the battery can cause.
The good news is that there are steps to take to prevent injuries from button batteries.
Steps to take to prevent injuries from button batteries: