If swallowed, button cell batteries can badly burn a child’s throat

Button cell batteries can be found in everything from greeting cards to children’s books to remote controls, but when swallowed, these batteries can be hazardous to a child’s health.

Last week, pediatric gastroenterologist Lissy de Ridder in the Netherlands, tweeted an X-ray of a button cell battery stuck in an infant’s esophagus. 

She wrote, “Removed [three] disc batteries only this week, stuck in esophagus of babies and toddlers. Damage is severe and lifelong in one of them. Truly individual and societal disaster. Parents, be warned.”

Sharing the concern Dr. Nikolaus Wolter, a staff otolaryngologist at SickKids Hospital in Toronto says, “The incidence of button battery injuries has been on the rise, as these smooth, shiny objects can look particularly inviting for a child to put in their mouth.”

Most ingested batteries come directly from the product, he adds, but other cases are caused when parents leave these batteries out for children to grab.

Pamela Fuselli, vice-president, knowledge transfer and stakeholder relations of Parachute Canada, an organization that works towards preventing injuries, says the exposure of button cell batteries is very high.

Fuselli adds when a button cell battery gets stuck in a child’s throat, it can affect the child’s breathing.

“But the saliva triggers an electrical current that causes a chemical reaction that can burn the esophagus. It can happen within two hours. This damage can continue even after the battery is removed.”

Health Canada says before you give your child any toy to play with, make sure you understand what the batteries look like.

Button cell batteries are found in everything from hearing aids to light-up jewelry to key chains. “Look for products with battery compartments that prevent easy access. For example, screw-closed compartments are harder to access than those that simply slide to open,” the site adds.

Go to: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/toy-safety/battery-safety.html#a4