As parents, we would do everything possible to keep our children safe. I know I spent hours baby-proofing my house when my children were first learning to crawl. But if you are like me, you probably didn’t know how harmful and even deadly button batteries can be to your children.
The Dangers of Button Batteries
Recently I discovered the dangers of button batteries. Just a few days ago, I came across a news report of a toddler in Oklahoma who died after swallowing a button battery. This broke my heart and made me start researching about the dangers of button batteries. And the information I found was scary! I am surprised that I hadn’t heard more about these risks before.
Facts about Button Batteries
Button batteries account for more than 3,500 emergency room visits in the United States each year. That is more than one child every three hours!
When button batteries are swallowed, the saliva triggers a chemical reaction with the battery that can severely burn the esophagus in as little as two hours. Before that point, you may not even know your child has swallowed a battery. They may be able to breathe fine and may only show signs of a cold or the flu.
The most dangerous button batteries are 20mm in size, about the size of a nickel, because they can easily get lodged in the esophagus of young children.
What Electronics Use Button Batteries?
As electronics have gotten smaller in our homes, so have the batteries that run them. These button batteries can be found in remote controls, talking/singing children’s books, greeting cards, calculators, flame-less candles, watches and even children’s toys.
I recently purchased a toy that lit up due to tiny little lights that are attached to a button battery. They were removable from the toy and I immediately threw them out because I can just see my boys putting them in their mouths to see how funny it would be to light up their cheeks and then accidentally swallowing them. (I’ve caught them with flashlights in their mouths before!).
What if I Think My Child has Swallowed a Button Battery?
If you think your child has ingested a button battery, go to the emergency room immediately and get them checked out. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, symptoms may include wheezing, drooling, belly or chest pain, coughing, gagging, and choking.
How to Keep Children Safe from Swallowing Button Batteries
The most important thing to do is be aware of where these batteries are found so that you can keep them away from young children. Use duct tape to secure remote controls that can easily be opened.(See Emmett’s Story below) When your children are young, keep items with button batteries up high out of reach. And keep any lose or extra batteries locked away where children can’t get them.
And share this information with your family, friends, childcare providers and anyone you know who have young children in their care. I also came across Emmett’s Story and had to share.
I hope that by helping to spread awareness of just how dangerous button batteries can be, that I can help save even one family from having to go through what many families like Emmett’s have endured.
Keep those babies safe! <3
And make sure you read: 25 Baby-Proofing Hazards You May Have Forgotten.