Young kids love to explore, and when they find something new, what’s the first thing they do? Put it in their mouths. Electronic devices are getting smaller, slimmer and sleeker. There are mini remote controls, small calculators, watches, key fobs, flameless candles and musical greeting cards. Kids love to pick them up, play with them and take them apart, often exposing dangerous button batteries inside. Here are few things to remember to make sure these batteries stay where they belong.
Each year in the United States, more than 2,800 kids are treated in emergency rooms after swallowing button batteries. That’s one child every three hours. The number of serious injuries or deaths as a result of button batteries has increased nine fold in the last decade.
Learn the Facts about Button Batteries • When a child swallows a button battery, the saliva triggers an electrical current. This causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the esophagus in as little as two hours.
• The scary part is that it may not be obvious at first that there is something wrong, since kids can still breathe and act normally after ingesting a battery, though it may seem like your child has a cold or flu.
• Repairing the damage from battery ingestion is painful and often involves multiple surgeries. Even after a battery is removed, kids can experience terrible side effects to their vocal chords and windpipe.
Keep Button Batteries Out of Reach • Search your home, and any place your child goes, for gadgets that may contain coin-sized lithium batteries.
• Keep coin lithium battery-controlled devices out of sight and reach of children. These include remote controls, singing greeting cards, digital scales, watches, hearing aids, thermometers, children’s toys, calculators, key fobs, flameless or tea light candles, flashing holiday jewelry or decorations.
Keep loose batteries locked away, or place a piece of duct tape over the controller to secure the battery compartment.
Get Treatment Right Away • If you suspect your child has ingested a battery, go to the hospital immediately. Don’t induce vomiting or have your child eat or drink anything until assessed by a medical professional.
• The symptoms may be tricky to recognize (they include coughing, drooling and discomfort), so if you have even the smallest doubt, don’t take any chances. Go to the emergency room right away.
• Enter the National Battery Ingestion Hotline (202-625-3333) into your phone right now. Call anytime for additional treatment information
Safe Kids Worldwide is a global organization dedicated to protecting kids from unintentional injuries, the number one cause of death to children in the United States. Throughout the world, almost 1 million children die of injuries each year.
By educating children and adults, we hope to make this number go away.
Safe Kids Greater Naugatuck Valley Coalition Coordinator
Community Outreach & Parish Nursing
203 732 1337