Prevention and Safety From Button Battery Injuries

By: AAP Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention

 

More than 2,800 children are treated in emergency rooms each year after ingesting button or lithium coin batteries. These batteries are small, shiny, and appealing to children. They can cause major injury and even death when swallowed or lodged in a child’s nose or ear.

 

What are button batteries?

Button batteries and lithium coin batteries are the small round batteries found in small electronics like:

 

 

  • Remote controls
  • Thermometers
  • Games and toys
  • Hearing aids
  • Calculators
  • Bathroom scales
  • Key fobs
  • Watches and electronic jewelry
  • Flashing shoes & clothing
  • Cameras
  • Holiday ornaments
  • Flameless candles
  • Musical greeting cards

 

 

As more homes use these small electronics, the risk of these batteries getting into the hands of infants and young children increases.​

 

How do these batteries injure children?

  • When it meets body fluids, the battery generates a current that produces small amounts of sodium hydroxide, which is lye. If the battery gets stuck somewhere in the body, the lye burns a hole at that spot. Infection usually follows. The result can be serious injury, illness, long-term disability, or even death.

 

What should parents do?

  • Parents and caregivers should not assume that every battery-powered product that enters their home is safe for children to use. In many products, the battery is easily accessible or can fall out when the product is dropped. Make sure that the battery compartments of all electronic items are secure and taped shut.

 

 

Awareness is the key to Prevention! Parents and caregivers need to be aware of the risk posed by button batteries in their homes. Keep loose and spare batteries locked away, store any product that uses button batteries out of reach of children, and know what to do if your child does ingest one. For additional questions about your child’s safety, call us at 407-566-9700.

 

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April 2021