The Consumer Products Safety Commission has released a warning regarding small button batteries. These batteries can pose hazards to both young children and the elderly. If swallowed, these small batteries can cause internal injuries.
According to a recent study, small disc batteries can cause severe internal injury when exposed to saliva. Dr. Toby Litovitz, director of the National Capital Poison Center in Washington D.C., notes "because of their small size, these batteries tend to get stuck in a child's esophagus, where their higher voltage compared with traditional batteries sets up a more rapid electrolysis reaction, which basically causes a severe chemical burn."
These batteries are very common in household items such as toys, calculators, hearing aids and remote controls. Caregivers should ensure that items containing small batteries are out of child’s reach.
How can you protect your child? The CPSC recommends the following:
• Discard button batteries carefully.
• Do not allow children to play with button batteries, and keep button batteries out of your child's reach.
• Caution hearing aid users to keep hearing aids and batteries out of the reach of children.
• Never put button batteries in your mouth for any reason as they are easily swallowed accidentally.
• Always check medications before ingesting them. Adults have swallowed button batteries mistaken for pills or tablets.
Prompt medical attention is essential. Serious injuries can occur in as little as 2 hours if the battery is lodged in the esophagus (AAP 2010).
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Author : Diba Tillery RN, BSN, IBCLC, CPST