A button battery can kill your young child. It nearly happened to Emmett Rauch. Little children love to explore, and when they find something new (like a shiny little button battery), what’s the first thing they do? They put it in their mouths.
The small hi-tech lithium button battery hidden in remote controls can burn holes in children’s throats – and the number of cases has doubled
- 66% of parents have never heard of dangers
- Most common injuries come from swallowing batteries from remote controls
- Symptoms start off similar to common cold
- Can cause severe injuries or even death
A Button Battery Can Kill Your Child
Each year in the United States, more than 2,800 young children are treated in emergency rooms after swallowing a button battery. In 2010 alone, there were 18 deaths.
Electronic devices are getting smaller, slimmer and sleeker. But inside the battery compartment of mini remote controls, small calculators, watches, key fobs, flameless candles and other electronics, may be a very powerful coin-sized button battery. When swallowed, these batteries can get stuck in the throat and cause severe burns. Small children often have easy access to these devices, and many parents do not know there is a risk. (Source)
Children under the age of 6 swallowed batteries in a reported 11,940 incidents between 2005 and 2014, according to the National Capital Poison Center in Washington, D.C. Of those, 15 children died and 101 suffered major medical problems. (Source)
Typically, batteries simply pass through the digestive system. “These devastating outcomes occur in small children when batteries get stuck in the esophagus,” Dr. Toby Litovitz, the center’s medical and executive director, explained to The Oklahoman. When this happens, alkaline batteries can open and release chemicals which corrode or burn.
And when a lithium button battery lodges there, it sends an electrical current through the tissue. “[This current] is causing more damage because it is splitting the water surrounding the button battery and forming hydroxide, which is an ingredient in lye,” Litovitz said. This passes into whatever tissue is nearby, including the aorta or the trachea.
These Injuries Are Preventable
Emmett Rauch, age two, swallowed a lithium battery from a remote control and has since had 18 surgeries in the past year at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona.
His mother Karla Rauch said no one saw Emmett swallow the battery and the first symptoms he had were similar to a cold.
She said: ‘Batteries start burning in the esophagus within two hours, and it was in him we think about three days.’ Emmett has had four inches of his esophagus removed after the acid from the battery burned two holes through it. He has also suffered multiple cases of collapsed lung and had close to 200 X-rays. He has spent more than 19 weeks of his young life in the pediatric ICU.
The batteries are so dangerous because they don’t have as much casing as an AA battery.
A nurse who cares for Emmett, Michelle Chacon, said she has seen several cases of children swallowing batteries and that more should be done to make families aware of the household danger. The nurse has helped the Rauch family set up a charity to raise awareness about the tiny batteries which are used in everyday objects like clocks, cameras and calculators. They feel it is their mission to save lives by telling others of these dangers through the story of their son Emmett.
As an RN, parent, and future grandparent, I share their concern. If you have small children or young visitors, please look carefully through your home to see if this danger is present and follow these tips.
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” ~3 John 1: 2
Tips For Parents, Babysitters, Grandparents
- Keep coin lithium battery-controlled devices out of sight and reach of children. These include remote controls, singing greeting cards, digital scales, watches, hearing aids, thermometers, children’s toys, calculators, key fobs, t-light candles, flashing holiday jewelry or decorations all contain button batteries. .
- Keep loose batteries locked away, or place a piece of duct tape over the controller to prevent small children from accessing the battery.
- Share this life-saving information with caregivers, friends, family members and sitters. It only takes a minute and it could save a life.
- If you suspect your child has ingested a battery, go to the hospital immediately. Don’t induce vomiting or have your child eat or drink anything until assessed by a medical professional.
- Enter the National Battery Ingestion Hotline (202-625-3333) into your phone right now. Call anytime for additional treatment information. (source)
If you see your child drooling, having difficulty swallowing, or vomiting, take him or her to the emergency department to get evaluated.
Do not second guess whether anything was ingested. Leave that to the emergency room doctors to determine. Time is critical with battery ingestions.
Button Battery Ingestion Websites
Thanks for reading!