Did you know that if a child swallows a button battery, it can cause serious injury or death in less than 2 hours? Children are curious and put things in their mouth and may not tell you they swallowed something.  The batteries' electrical charge reacts to the body’s tissues and fluid, leading to internal burns in a very short time.  This is why prevention is crucial to protect our children. Button batteries can be found in remote controls, garage door openers, car key fobs, watches, fitness trackers, scales, flameless candles, toys, and many more consumer products.
Amy Terreros, DNP, RN, APRN, Manager of the Center for Childhood Safety at Children's Mercy
Kansas City,
14:01 PM

Button Battery Safety Tips Every Parent Should Know

button battery

The Children's Mercy Pediatric Trauma Center team regularly shares important safety information with our staff and families. The following fact sheet about button batteries is provided by Safe Kids Worldwide.

By Safe Kids Worldwide

Little kids love to explore, and when they find something new, what’s the first thing they do? Put it in their mouths. Electronic devices are getting smaller, slimmer and sleeker. There are mini remote controls, small calculators, watches, key fobs, flameless candles and musical greeting cards.

Kids love to pick them up, play with them and take them apart, often exposing dangerous button batteries inside. Here are few things to remember to make sure these batteries stay where they belong.

Learn the Facts about Button Batteries

  • When a child swallows a button battery, the saliva triggers an electrical current. This causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the esophagus in as little as two hours.
  • The scary part is that it may not be obvious at first that there is something wrong, since kids can still breathe and act normally after ingesting a battery, though it may seem like your child has a cold or flu.
  • Repairing the damage from battery ingestion is painful and often involves multiple surgeries. Even after a battery is removed, kids can experience terrible side effects to their vocal chords and windpipe.

Keep Button Batteries Out of Reach

  • Search your home, and any place your child goes, for gadgets that may contain coin-sized lithium batteries.
  • Keep coin lithium battery controlled devices out of sight and reach of children. These include remote controls, singing greeting cards, digital scales, watches, hearing aids, thermometers, children’s toys, calculators, key fobs, flameless or tea light candles, flashing holiday jewelry or decorations all contain button batteries.
  • Keep loose batteries locked away, or place a piece of duct tape over the controller to secure the battery compartment.

Get Treatment Right Away

  • If you suspect your child has ingested a battery, go to the hospital immediately. Don’t induce vomiting or have your child eat or drink anything until assessed by a medical professional.
  • The symptoms may be tricky to recognize (they include coughing, drooling and discomfort), so if you have even the smallest doubt, don’t take any chances. Go to the emergency room right away.
  • Enter the National Battery Ingestion Hotline (202-625-3333) into your phone right now. Call anytime for additional treatment information.

Tell Your Family and Friends

  • Share this life-saving information with caregivers, friends, family members and sitters. It only takes a minute and could save a life.

Children's Mercy operates the only designated Level I Pediatric Trauma Center and the only burn unit devoted exclusively to pediatric patients between St. Louis and Denver. Learn more about our Burn and Trauma Care Team.