Button Batteries & Your Toddler's Safety Concerns
Created by Ambili S Kartha Updated on Oct 28, 2021
Button batteries. You'll find these tiny dangers everywhere in your house. It is used in common household items like TV remotes, calculator, greeting cards, pictures & sound storybooks for the children, toys, watches, etc looks quite harmless. However, button batteries and lithium coin batteries can be extremely dangerous if children swallow them. These shiny batteries easily draw the attention of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. It is too small and therefore the toddlers who always like to explore and experiment things easily put them in their mouths or ears or even inside their noses.
The incident of swallowing button batteries is more common than you think among children under five years. Also, the damage it brings about is more than you could imagine. These batteries have the capacity to cause catastrophic damage in less than 2 hours if they're swallowed! Continue reading to know more about the consequences of swallowing a button battery s and the safety measures to be taken.
What makes button batteries a safety problem?
There are several factors that make button battery unsafe to handle carelessly if you have a toddler in the home:
The size:The size of the button battery is not only for the toddler to swallow, its size is apt to get stuck in the windpipe
Appealing for the toddler:The smooth surfaced, shiny looking button batteries are appealing to toddlers who like to put things in their mouths
The design:The anode and cathode of button batteries are closely placed. Therefore, a high current that created in the battery will pass quickly through the tissue of the child that has salty properties. This electrical current creates heat that brings about serious burns within two hours of swallowing,/li>
Button batteries are "dangerous" even when it is out of charge:
A lithium battery is dangerous even when it's "out of charge". The battery will stop working at around 1.1 volts. This means a ton working battery more likely has a 1 volt charge, which is capable to bring about tissue burn. The higher the voltage of the battery, faster and deeper will be the injury. The child may hide the truth: If a child has swallowed a battery, they may not tell anyone. The tissues in the esophagus and the gut are not that sensitive to realize the pain and therefore, the severity of the burning may go unrecognized for a while.
What happens if a child swallows a button battery?
If the size of the button coin is too small, more often pass through the stool without causing major issues. If a button battery, especially a lithium coin battery happens to come in contact with bodily fluids creates an electrical current, which rapidly increases the pH of the tissue adjacent to the battery, causing significant tissue injury even within two hours. If lodged in the esophagus, it can cause esophageal perforation, vocal cord paralysis, etc. This can also bring about serious internal bleeding and turn out to be fatal.
The button batteries that get stuck in toddler's ears or nose can be equally potentially dangerous as the ingested one. Batteries that stuck in the nasal cavity can create nasal mucosal injury and can develop perforation of the nasal septum. When lodged in ear, it can bring about hearing loss, tympanic membrane perforation, and facial nerve paralysis.
What are the signs your child has swallowed a button battery?
- Feeling nauseous
- Starts to cough
- Throat pain
- Develops breathing issues
- Develops fever
- Can't eat or drink
- Severe abdominal pain
What to do if your child swallows a button battery?
- If you suspect your child has swallowed or ingested a battery, they should be taken to the hospital immediately rather than wait to see if any symptoms develop
- Do not give your child anything to eat or drink
- Do not make them vomit it as it will worsen the burn and internal injury
- An X-ray will be run to confirm that the battery is in the body. If a battery is stuck in the body, urgent removal is the only way to stop further injury
What are the safety measures to take while using and storing button batteries?
If you have a toddler in your home, it is important to follow these safety measures to keep your child away from ingesting button batteries:
- While picking toys and books with button batteries, try to buy one that needs tools like a screwdriver to open the battery compartment
- Never let the child handle any toy with a battery compartment that can be opened easily
- If the battery is easily accessible or can fall out when the product is dropped down, ensure cover it with tape so that the child will not be able to open it easily
- Keep products that use button batteries out of the reach of children
- Closely watch the children while they use devices containing batteries
- Keep all spare batteries out of the reach of children. We prefer to keep it in a higher cupboard and lock
- As aforementioned, that run out can be dangerous as well, hence recycle them safely
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