According to a recent study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Safe Kids Worldwide, there has been an increase in the number of kids swallowing button batteries in the past decade. The findings indicate that more people have visited hospitals for this issue in the last ten years than in the prior two decades combined. On average, a youngster experiences battery problems every 1.25 hours, leading to treatment in the emergency room.
While not all reports include information about the type of battery used, data analysis from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) revealed that button batteries caused 85% of the recorded injuries. In the last 10 years, over 84% of patients were children under the age of five, and these injuries were typically more severe.
Parents need to be even more cautious as most button batteries can be found in small electronic devices such as remote controls, toys, hearing aids, and watches. When ingested, they can get stuck in the throat or esophagus and release harmful chemicals, causing serious injuries or even death. If your child swallows a button battery or has any difficulty breathing after you suspect they could have ingested one, seek immediate medical attention.
With the increasing accessibility of technology, emergency rooms and hospitals across the United States have seen a rise in patients with button battery-related injuries. Children are more likely to come into contact with these batteries due to their greater availability.
After learning about the prevalence of button battery injuries, parents – especially those with young children who like to put things in their mouths – may take stock of the batteries in their homes. According to experts, battery ingestion is a dangerous yet preventable problem.
Parents and caretakers should take preventative measures by not leaving loose batteries within reach of children, securing battery compartments with screws or tape, and properly disposing of used batteries. If you suspect a child has ingested a battery, seek immediate medical attention and refrain from inducing vomiting or giving food or drink. It is also essential to inform medical professionals that battery ingestion is a possibility to ensure prompt and proper treatment.
Risks Associated with Swallowing a Button Battery
Despite parents’ efforts to teach their young children not to swallow non-food items, batteries present a unique danger if ingested. Due to their small size, button batteries are more prone to being accidentally swallowed when compared to larger battery types, such as AA batteries.
The most critical period during battery ingestion is when the battery is still stuck in the esophagus. Changes in tissue pH may trigger a chemical burn caused by the generation of hydroxide radicals as current flows from the positive to the negative terminal of a battery.
These radicals break down surrounding tissues and cause significant injury or death within hours. Battery ingestion can cause severe harm to the digestive system or even death, making it crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect your child has ingested one. It is important to keep loose batteries away from children, secure battery compartments, and dispose of used batteries properly to prevent future incidents.
Ingesting a battery can be compared to consuming dish soap; although battery acid can be toxic, it is less likely to cause harm if it passes through a child’s digestive system and into the stomach or small intestine, rather than becoming stuck in the esophagus. However, chemical reactions caused by battery ingestion can continue even after the battery has been removed.
Even after the battery is taken out, its contact with surrounding tissues alters the pH balance and can cause ongoing damage that takes some time to heal. Unfortunately, tragic deaths have been recorded even after the battery removal, often after several days or weeks. Tissues are delicate as they try to recover from the damage caused by battery exposure.
The esophagus, located next to the aorta, is particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of battery ingestion. To prevent such incidents, parents should ensure that batteries are stored properly and securely disposed of when no longer needed. If a child ingests a battery or other hazardous materials, seek medical attention immediately as early treatment can significantly improve outcomes and save lives.
One of the most common ways that swallowing an object can be fatal is if it creates a hole in the esophageal wall, leading to profuse bleeding and potential catastrophic outcomes. Immediately seeking medical attention is crucial to prevent such situations.
Small children, especially those under four years of age, are at the highest risk of experiencing severe harm from ingesting batteries. Due to their small size, button batteries can become lodged inside the developing esophagus, which can result in potentially lethal outcomes.
To prevent such incidents, parents should take care to store batteries and other hazardous materials safely and away from young children. If you suspect your child has ingested a battery or another foreign object, seek immediate medical attention. Prompt treatment can help to prevent holes in the esophagus wall and avoid long-lasting health consequences.
If you swallow a button battery, what signs should you look out for?
Symptoms may appear quickly after a child swallows a battery. According to Poison Control, parents should take action if their child exhibits any of the following:
- Excessive drooling
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Chest discomfort
- Difficulty swallowing, frequent gagging, or refusal to eat or drink
Weaker or older batteries may cause less severe symptoms. Ingesting a button battery can result in various symptoms, such as a persistent cough or sudden refusal to eat.
When Should I Worry That My Child Has Swallowed a Battery?
If you suspect that your child has swallowed a button battery, it is imperative to seek immediate medical attention. Choosing a children’s hospital is advisable as they have the tools and expertise necessary to remove the battery on-site. Time is of the essence, so it is important to act quickly and get your child to the hospital right away.
In animal studies, it has been observed that the esophagus can suffer damage within as little as 15 minutes after ingesting a harmful substance. In some cases, patients have experienced complete esophageal fusion in less than two hours following treatment.
How can I keep my child safe from swallowing batteries?
It is crucial to take precautions with any batteries present in the household and ensure that battery compartments are childproofed. To prevent these compartments from being damaged or loosened, caregivers should monitor their children’s activities frequently. The best option for securely storing button batteries is in a container kept out of reach of children which requires a specific tool to unlock.
As a general safety measure, it is recommended to keep button batteries and young children away from each other. These small batteries can pose a potentially life-threatening hazard if ingested. Additionally, when replacing a button battery, it’s important to dispose of the old one safely to prevent accidental ingestion.
To summarize, proper handling and disposal of batteries are important steps to prevent accidents and injury from occurring. Parents and caregivers should take precautions to ensure that all batteries remain out of reach of young children and be sure to properly dispose of old batteries. Regular monitoring of children and frequent checking of battery compartments can also help reduce the risk of accidents.
It is recommended to take inventory of gadgets and devices that use button batteries, especially if you have young children under the age of 5 in your home. Consider whether these items are within your child’s reach and take precautions to keep them inaccessible.
According to experts, devices that use button batteries should always be kept out of reach of children. If a child ingests a battery, it is crucial to act quickly. Call emergency services or take the child to a children’s hospital as soon as possible.
Taking extra care to prevent accidental ingestion of button batteries can help avoid potentially catastrophic outcomes. By taking stock of your household items and keeping potentially dangerous gadgets out of reach, you can reduce the risk of accidents occurring in the first place. In the event of an emergency, prompt medical attention is essential.