Button batteries are the coin-size batteries found in many electronic devices, like wristwatches, calculators, toys or even recorded birthday cards use button batteries.
Button batteries are the most harmful type of battery if swallowed by young children, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
What makes button battery ingestion such a risk for children? The small size of these batteries means they are easy to swallow. They can get stuck in the esophagus (throat), leading to serious injury. They are the leading cause of death by ingestion. Poison control centers across the United States report that about 3,500 button batteries are swallowed each year.
The symptoms of battery ingestion include:
In many cases, the battery passes through the intestines and exits the body safely. However, this is not always the case. They can easily get lodged in the esophagus and lead to dangerous side effects.
Batteries stuck in the throat cause an electric current and can leak corrosive chemicals, like alkaline electrolyte. These corrosive chemicals can cause internal damage due to the buildup of hydroxide, a chemical that can cause dangerous burns within a couple of hours. Unfortunately, the damage caused may continue long after the battery is removed from the body.
If your child ingests a battery, take the following steps:
Swallowing batteries is dangerous - no matter the size. Follow these tips to keep your children safe.