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Posted in CPR News
Sunday August 30, 2015

There is an emerging danger hiding in your home — lithium batteries, also known as button batteries — causing injuries and death in children. When swallowed, these small batteries get stuck in the esophagus (throat). The saliva triggers an electric current which causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the esophagus in as little as two hours.

Lithium batteries can be found in everything in your home. They are used to power remote controls, toys, musical greeting cards, calculators, watches and other electronics. Small children often have easy access to these devices, and many parents do not know there is a risk.

Incidents of ingesting button batteries are on the rise

Fifteen children have died — 11 of them within the last six years.
In 2010, more than 3,400 kids swallowed button batteries.
Signs that your child has swallowed a button battery may include:

  • A sudden onset of crying (some children may not be in pain)
  • Drooling
  • Decreased eating or drinking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Abdominal pain, blood in saliva and stool

The above symptoms can also be mistaken for another diagnosis. Parents or caretakers should know that these batteries can be found anywhere in the home and think of it as a possibility if a child is in distress.

Things You Should Not Do If You Think Your Child Swallowed a Battery

  • Do not give medications to make your child move his bowels or vomit.
  • Do not give your child anything to eat or drink.
  • Do not give milk; this will not prevent further injury.
  • Do not attempt the Heimlich maneuver, even if you saw your child swallow the battery. The battery could get stuck another area or change its location and increase the risk of injury.

If your child swallowed a battery, try the giving stomach thrusts. If that does work, rush them to the hospital immediately.

One of my students told me one baby who swallowed a battery, that it burned through their esophagus, and stomach lining. The poor child had 6 surgeries, and almost died.

I know the picture below is disturbing, but it is to show you the importance to not leave batteries around little ones.