Are You Buying Button Batteries?

Button batteries are those little round batteries you might know as watch batteries, but they are found in many household items. They are often the size of a coin or smaller. These little batteries are another one of life’s hidden dangers that parents have to watch out for. They can kill your child or pet if swallowed. Choking is an obvious concern, but the bigger danger is damage to the esophagus and GI tract which can begin within a few minutes of ingestion. Damage can be severe before you have any idea of what happened.

Items Containing Button Batteries

Examples of the types of items that contain button batteries include:

  • Toys and games
  • Remote controls
  • Calculators
  • Watches
  • Thermometers
  • Garage door openers
  • Key fobs
  • Cell phones
  • Cameras
  • Bathroom and kitchen scales
  • Musical Christmas cards
  • Hearing aids
  • Flameless candles
  • Holiday ornaments
  • Electronic jewelry
  • Laser pointers

More Dangerous than Other Batteries

Ingesting any type of battery can be very harmful to your child or pet, but button batteries are more dangerous because of the way they cause injury. Both can cause poisoning and tissue damage as a result of leaking battery fluid. Button batteries also emit an electrical current that causes a rapid increase in the pH of the adjacent tissue. It can burn a hole in the esophagus very quickly, causing serious injury within 15 minutes of ingestion.

Symptoms of Button Battery Ingestion

The American Academy of Pediatrics says there are more than 3,500 incidents of button battery ingestion reported to U.S. poison control centers each year, and that these incidents may be vastly under-reported.

Ingestion of a button battery is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms of button battery ingestion in your child or pet include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Discolored or bloody stool
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Drooling
  • Gagging or choking when eating or drinking
  • Breathing problems
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Abdominal pain
  • Throat pain
  • Poor appetite or refusal to eat or drink
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
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