Button Batteries and the Risk to Your Children

One minute, your energetic, carefree child is curiously crawling around the carpet. The next, she is fighting for her life in the pediatric ICU. It’s hard to imagine one situation leading to the other, but this is the reality when a child swallows a battery.

Coin-sized lithium batteries, otherwise known as button batteries are used to power many of your everyday devices including:

  • Watches
  • Small remote controls
  • LED candles
  • Calculators
  • Cameras
  • Vehicle key fobs

When this seemingly harmless product falls into the wrong hands; however, it can become dangerous and in some cases, fatal.

More than 3,500 individuals in the U.S. swallow button batteries each year, according to the National Capital Poison Center. Though the battery itself is small in size, the contents found inside can damage the throat and stomach and in severe cases, cause internal bleeding.

In small children especially, there’s a great chance the battery may become stuck upon swallowing, which can cause burns in the esophagus in less than two hours after ingestion as a result of an electrical current activated by saliva. Injury to the throat tissue often results in vocal cord paralysis, required tube feeding and for children like Emmet, countless surgeries in the ICU and a long, uncertain road to recovery.

Signs of Ingestion: What to Look for in Young Children

In many instances, button batteries will pass through the digestive system and will exit the body with other waste; however, it’s impossible to detect whether a battery will successfully pass through without damage being done. If you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery, signs to look for include:

  • Sudden crying
  • Decreased thirst and appetite
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Difficulties swallowing
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in stool or saliva

Because there is no sure way to predict how contact with a substance may affect a child, all kids displaying symptoms from an unknown cause should seek medical care immediately.

Fewer Accidental Ingestions with Child-Resistant Packaging

When it comes to preventing accidental exposure with your little ones, proactivity is key. Be sure to move all items that may be hazardous out of reach. This means storing purses, shopping bags, and all medicines in an area that can only be accessed by adults, such as a high shelf or behind closed doors.

In addition to keeping button batteries and other potentially harmful products out of reach, you should look for products that use child-resistant flexible packaging to ensure your children are in good hands and out of danger.

“While children usually swallow coin cell batteries they obtain directly from products or find left out or discarded, child-resistant packaging that meets the strict CPSC regulations has the potential to eliminate up to 11 percent of coin cell battery ingestions,” said Dr. Toby Litovitz of the National Capital Poison Center.

Carefully stored in flexible packaging with child-resistant sliders, like Child-Guard®, items like your button batteries can be safely kept without the worry and stress of accidental exposure to your kids. Recent studies offer peace of mind for parents of small children, as 90% of kids under the age of 5 could not open a package sealed with a child-resistant zipper, even after they were given directions on how to open the packaging.

When used with flexible packaging, Child-Guard® sliders protects kids from obtaining access to products that may be harmful if consumed. The child-resistant slider locks in place when fastened and requires a 3-step “point, press and pull” process in order to open. It’s already being used on some laundry product packaging and will soon be applied to other flexible packaged products as well.

Use the hashtag #guardit to let us know what product you would guard with child-resistant packaging and keep an eye out for more Child-Guard® products coming to stores soon.

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