Did You Know?

In 2010 alone, more than 3,400 button battery swallowing cases were reported in the U.S., resulting in 19 serious injuries and in some cases, deaths.

  • The number of cases resulting in serious injury or death has more than quadrupled in the past five years.
  • 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.
  • Once burning begins, damage can continue even after the battery is removed.
  • The number of cases resulting in serious injury or death has more than quadrupled in the past five years.

Prevention

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.

Treatment

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.