Dangers of Button Batteries

Button batteries are the small round batteries found in small electrical items, such as:

  • Remote controls
  • Thermometers
  • Games and toys
  • Hearing aids
  • Calculators
  • Bathroom scales
  • Key fobs
  • Cameras
  • Holiday ornaments

As more homes use these small electronics, the risk of these batteries getting into the hands of curious and crawling infants and young children increases. Therefore, it is important to raise awareness regarding these shiny little dangers which can seriously injure or even kill a child. The video below shows the damage which could occur from button batteries coming into contact with tissues inside the body.

Unfortunately it may not be obvious that a battery is stuck in a child’s throat. They may be breathing normally, or simply develop cold or flu-like symptoms. If you suspect that your child may have swallowed a button battery you must act fast :

  • Dial 999 or get them to the nearest hospital as quickly as you can.
  • Explain that you suspect the child has swallowed a button battery, they will receive priority.
  • Do not make them vomit.
  • Do NOT give them anything to eat or drink, this would just increase the saliva and make the injury worsen faster.
  • Do not wait to “see what happens”, never wait for the symptoms to develop.

How to protect children:

  • Make sure that toys and other products using button cell batteries, such as small electronic devices, have lockable battery compartments. This should mean that they are safe for children to use as the batteries are locked away. Avoid toys from markets or temporary shops as they may not conform to safety regulations.
  • Be extra vigilant with items including musical greeting cards, flameless candles and remote controls as they do not have lockable compartments. RoSPA advises that children should not be allowed to have access to these products if the battery compartment is not secure
  • It is a good idea to ensure that spare batteries are locked away, and used batteries are disposed of correctly.
  • Teach older children that button batteries are dangerous and not to play with them or give them to younger brothers and sisters.

For more information please visit the Rospa website here.

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