Tiny batteries pose growing threat to kids

August 30, 2012 by Steven Reinberg, Healthday Reporter
Tiny batteries pose growing threat to kids
So-called button batteries can cause choking and death, report warns.

(HealthDay)—As the use of small button batteries has become more widespread to power devices such as toys, watches and hearing aids, more young children have swallowed them, resulting in choking and even deaths, a new U.S. report says.

From 1997 to 2010, as many as 40,000 under 13 years old have been treated in emergency rooms for ingesting the tiny batteries, according to the U.S. .

"This is a problem we have known about because of all the electronic devices people have," said Dr. Amanda Porro, a pediatrician at Miami Children's Hospital, who was not involved with the report.

"Parents have to keep these devices away from small children," she said, adding that one of the most dangerous consequences of swallowing a button is having it become lodged in the child's esophagus.

"The child may just have vague symptoms," Porro said. "Unless you have seen the child swallow the battery it's very hard to diagnose and you have to have an x-ray to see the battery," she said.

Porro suggests keeping the batteries locked away from children. "If a parent sees a child swallow a battery, they need to go to the emergency room straight away because within two hours there can be significant damage—it's a real emergency," she said.

The report was published in the Aug. 31 issue of the U.S. 's .

Over the years the number of children treated for ingesting the batteries has increased 2.5-fold, from 1,900 in 1998 to 4,800 in 2010. In most cases children were treated and released, but 10 percent were hospitalized, according to the report.

Thirteen children died from ingesting batteries from 2002 to 2010, compared to one in 1998. These deaths were generally caused by the toxic contents of the batteries leaking into the child's esophagus where the battery had become lodged, the report found.

When these batteries get stuck in a child's esophagus, serious burns can occur in under two hours and fatal bleeding can happen after two weeks, the report said.

These cases can often be hard to diagnose, and in several cases children died because the lodged battery was missed, according to the report.

"Parents and caregivers should be aware of the potential hazards associated with battery exposure (particularly ingestion of ) and ensure that products containing them are either kept away from children or that the batteries are secured safely in the product," the researchers wrote.

"Because delays in diagnosis and treatment can lead to serious complications and death, children suspected of having ingested a battery should get prompt medical attention. It is also important to recognize that children might be reluctant or unable to say that they ingested a battery or gave one to a sibling," the researchers added.

Explore further: Swallowing 'button batteries' can lead to serious injuries or death

More information: For advice on protecting to kids from batteries, visit Safe Kids USA..


Related Stories

Swallowing 'button batteries' can lead to serious injuries or death

September 30, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Small, coin-sized batteries can cause serious health problems and can even lead to death if swallowed by children, and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt wants to educate parents ...

Study finds number of battery-related emergency department visits by children more than doubles

May 14, 2012
In today's technology-driven world, batteries, especially button batteries, are everywhere. They power countless gadgets and electronic items that we use every day. While they may seem harmless, button batteries can be dangerous ...

Small batteries, other shiny objects pose risks to children

June 1, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Coins, magnets and small batteries pose serious dangers to children when accidentally swallowed, the American College of Emergency Physicians warns.

Recommended for you

Sweet, bitter, fat: New study reveals impact of genetics on how kids snack

February 22, 2018
Whether your child asks for crackers, cookies or veggies to snack on could be linked to genetics, according to new findings from the Guelph Family Health Study at the University of Guelph.

The good and bad health news about your exercise posts on social media

February 22, 2018
We all have that Facebook friend—or 10—who regularly posts photos of his or her fitness pursuits: on the elliptical at the gym, hiking through the wilderness, crossing a 10K finish line.

Smartphones are bad for some teens, not all

February 21, 2018
Is the next generation better or worse off because of smartphones? The answer is complex and research shows it largely depends on their lives offline.

Tackling health problems in the young is crucial for their children's future

February 21, 2018
A child's growth and development is affected by the health and lifestyles of their parents before pregnancy - even going back to adolescence - according to a new study by researchers at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, ...

Lead and other toxic metals found in e-cigarette 'vapors': study

February 21, 2018
Significant amounts of toxic metals, including lead, leak from some e-cigarette heating coils and are present in the aerosols inhaled by users, according to a study from scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public ...

Why teens need up to 10 hours' sleep

February 21, 2018
Technology, other distractions and staying up late make is difficult, but researchers say teenagers need to make time for 8-10 hours of sleep a night to optimise their performance and maintain good health and wellbeing.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.