Child advocates are warning anyone who spends time around kids to be careful with button batteries. Nearly three thousand children went to the emergency room after swallowing a coin-sized button battery last year.
Kate Carr, CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, says the small lithium batteries are becoming an emerging danger as they show up in everything from key fobs to remote controls and decorations. She says the batteries can become lodged in the esophagus, where it’s triggered by saliva and causes burns.
Carr says the child is not choking, so you may not know they’ve swallowed a battery until the damage has been done. The symptoms look a lot like the cold or flu.
Carr says the small shiny batteries can be especially dangerous for children under age 4. She says children’s toys must have screws securing the battery compartment, but that’s not the case with many products that use button batteries, such as remote control devices and decorations.
Carr says if you think your child may have swallowed a button battery– seek immediate help. You can learn more at safekids.org. There’s also a national battery ingestion hotline at 202-625-3333.