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  • Judy Newberger, RN

Toddler Safety - Button Batteries

Toddlers and young children are naturally curious, testing everything to learn about our world. Parents are protective, trying to keep one step ahead. Even with diligence, children swallow buttons, or put beans or other small objects up the nose or in the ear. A more serious object they may access is a button battery. Per Safe Kids USA, in 2010 alone, more than 3,400 swallowing cases of coin-sized lithium “button” batteries were reported in the U.S. Nineteen children sustained life-threatening or debilitating injuries, and others died!

Did You Know?

  • Button batteries are in many devices including car, TV and other remotes, watches, toys, greeting cards, bathroom scales, flameless candles, thermometers, hearing aids, calculators, talking books and more.

  • It can take as little as two hours for damage to begin and burning can continue even after removal of battery.

  • It may not be obvious at first that something is wrong.

  • Repair of the damage may take several painful surgeries.

  • Batteries may be placed in the ears or nose and cause burning of cartilage and other tissues.

  • Elderly with poor vision may mistake hearing aid batteries for small pills.

Prevention –

  • Search your home for devices that have button batteries.

  • Make sure battery cases are shut and secure.

  • Best devices can only be opened with a tool, such as screw driver.

  • Secure these devices out of the reach and out of the sight of children.

  • Do not let children play with devices that use button batteries.

  • Watch closely when children play with things that use batteries.

  • Share this information with babysitters, daycare providers, friends, grandparents, and other relatives.

In Case of Swallowing –

  • Call 911

  • Take your child to the ER IMMEDIATELY!

  • Do not give anything to eat or drink.

  • Do not induce vomiting.

  • If possible, provide battery ID number found on battery package to ER personnel

  • Contact the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 800-498-8666

What Else Can You Do?

  • Encourage legislation that requires child-resistant battery compartments on all button-battery devices.

  • Educate and share this information with others.

  • Read the heartbreaking true, recent “Reese’s Story” on the non-profit Facebook page, “Pray for Reese Hamsmith

  • Check out the references below.

Stay healthy and keep our kids safe!!

Judy Newberger RN

Parish Nurse, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church



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