Button Batteries Can Put Children's Lives At Risk

Clocks, television controls, and bathroom scales are just innocuous items around the home the hidden items they contain have the potential to devastate lives up and down the country- button batteries

More and more devices and gadgets around the home are now powered by button batteries. These small batteries – which are about the size of a 1p coin – are flat, shiny and can be very appealing for small children to put in their mouths. As I’ve witnessed first-hand in the past year, the consequences of swallowing these batteries for young children can be incredibly serious.

If button batteries get stuck in a child’s oesophagus (food-pipe) a chemical reaction takes place and the battery is effectively activated in the body. This can cause holes in a child’s oesophagus and adjacent windpipe in the space of just a few hours.

These holes affect a child’s ability to eat, drink, swallow or breathe and most children need urgent and life-saving treatments, not just immediately but throughout the rest of their life. One of my current patients had to have over 50 procedures in under 18 months, and this is only the beginning for her. A couple of seconds spent swallowing this battery has dramatically changed her life forever

Tragically many children don’t survive after swallowing these batteries – their injuries have been too severe.

As the numbers of these batteries increase, we’re seeing more children admitted to hospitals all over the UK after swallowing them. That’s why we all need to be better at keeping these batteries stored safely up, and away from kids, whether they’re new or old batteries. Even used batteries, which have stopped working in our electronics, can cause significant injuries so we need to get better at disposing of them when we’re finished with them. Button batteries should essentially be viewed with the same caution as medicines, bleaches, and poisons in the home.

Manufacturers have a key role to play in keeping children safer too. Button batteries need to be more safely packaged and…

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