Did You Know?
Each year, more than 3,500 swallowing cases of all sizes and types of button batteries are reported to U.S. poison control centers.
- The number of cases where children have been seriously hurt or have died quadrupled in five years (2006-2010) compared to the five years prior (2001-2005).
- When a coin lithium button battery gets stuck in a child’s throat, the saliva triggers an electrical current. This causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the esophagus in as little as two hours.
- Symptoms of coin-sized button battery ingestion may be similar to other childhood illnesses, such as coughing, drooling, and discomfort.
- Once burning begins, damage can continue even after the battery is removed.
Kids under 4 are at the greatest risk. Many coin-sized button batteries can appear “invisible” to parents because devices come with the batteries already installed. To keep your children safe:
- Look in your home for any items that may contain coin-sized button batteries.
- Place devices out of sight and out of reach of small children.
- Keep loose or spare batteries locked away.
- Share this life-saving information with caregivers, friends, family members and sitters.
Keeping these batteries locked away and secured in devices is key, but if a coin-sized button battery is swallowed, you should follow these steps:
- Go to the emergency room immediately. Tell doctors and nurses that it might be a coin-sized button battery.
- If possible, provide the medical team with the identification number found on the battery’s package.
- Do not let the child eat or drink until an X-ray can determine if a battery is present.
- Do not induce vomiting.
Data provided by Dr. Toby Litovitz and the The National Capital Poison Center based on incidents reported to U.S. poison control centers.