Injury Prevention

Button Battery Safety

 Swallowing button batteries can be fatal

Lithium coin-sized and smaller batteries, often referred to as button batteries, are commonly found in many household electronics – including toys, watches, cameras, games, hearing aids, and even singing or flashing greeting cards.

These flat, shiny batteries pose serious health risks for children, particularly toddlers who explore by putting things in their mouths. If swallowed, the button battery may stick in the throat or stomach, causing life-threatening burns and tissue damage as the chemicals leak out. Severe burns can occur in as little as two hours after swallowing. This injury is similar to a burn caused by swallowing a chemical drain cleaner. Both active and expired batteries can cause these severe injuries if swallowed.

Studies have shown that more than 3,400 swallowing cases were reported in the United States in 2010; 19 children sustained life-threatening or debilitating injuries and others died as a result of swallowing button batteries.

Seconds Matter
If you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery seek immediate medical attention even before symptoms appear. Symptoms may include coughing, drooling, trouble swallowing, and fever. Visit your local emergency department to receive an x-ray as soon as possible. Do not allow your child to eat or drink until after they receive an emergency department evaluation. Repairing the damage caused by the button battery may require multiple surgeries.

Electronics powered by button batteries are everywhere! It’s important to follow these safety tips:

  • Keep all batteries or objects with batteries out of reach and secured away from children.
  • Get help quickly if you suspect a battery has been swallowed.
  • Spread the word! Tell your friends and family members about the dangers associated with swallowing batteries.
Last Update
April 1, 2013
  • Increase/Decrease Text Size
  • Print This Page
Last Update
April 1, 2013
top