As batteries become smaller and more powerful, the number of swallowing incidents involving serious injury and death is going up. Most often, incidents involve children under age 4 and the elderly (who mistake small batteries for a pill). Sometimes the battery will pass through the intestine and sometimes it can become stuck in the throat or in the intestines. A battery can cause chemical burns in as few as two hours.
If a child swallows a button battery, the symptoms can look like a common illness like an upset stomach and fever, but sometimes there are no symptoms at all. In fact, over 60% of incidents are first given the wrong diagnosis.
How to prevent swallowing?
- Do not allow children to play with button batteries.
- Never allow a child to put button batteries in their mouth for any reason — they are slippery and are easily swallowed.
- Keep button batteries out of your child’s reach and throw them out with care.
- Keep electronics out of your child’s reach if the battery compartment does not have a screw to keep it closed.
- If it would help, use tape to keep the battery compartment closed.
–Janell Mayo Duncan
Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/03/beware-of-those-tiny-batteries/ (viewed 7/29/2013)