My Mother's Day present this year was a panicked trip to the Emergency Room. Why? My 16 month old daughter ingested a button battery. She was playing with a children's toy of all things, and she broke the casing off of the back and accessed the batteries inside. I am still not sure how she managed this, as the back was screwed on very tightly. She broke the plastic cover and left the screw completely intact on the toy. Luckily, we were 5 feet away and saw her do it. We tried to get to her right as she put the small battery into her mouth, but she swallowed it before we could successfully retrieve it. Needless to say, we were absolutely terrified. I still am, to be honest, even though she passed the battery in her stool yesterday morning. She has shown absolutely no symptoms of poisoning or illness, and has been behaving like the happy, playful child that she is. But as a mother, I am still incredibly shaken up, and scared beyond belief. I want to believe that she will be just fine, but horrific things can happen when a battery is ingested. Things like esophageal burns and erosion, tissue burns, organ failure, and cardiac arrest. Even deaths have been reported after battery ingestion. A button battery can cause serious, if not fatal damage, within 2 hours of ingestion! SCARY!
When she was seen at the hospital, she got an immediate X-Ray to see where the battery was located. Thankfully, it was in her stomach rather than lodged in her esophagus, where the most complications and fatalities stem from. We were told to take her home, allow her to resume normal activity, and wait for it to pass, which should occur within 1-3 days. (Which it did.) I am hoping that no complications will arise from this incident. I am a nervous wreck still, and am losing sleep because I am so worried. I am hoping that my baby girl will be just fine and that she doesn't become chronically ill or worse....I've looked at the recorded reports of debilitating and fatal incidents involving battery ingestion, and many of the deaths occurred days and sometimes weeks after the battery is removed. So every day right now feels like an eternity, and I am virtually petrified.
I am posting this as to bring awareness to all parents the dangers of button batteries. They are tiny, and to a curious child, I'm sure they look quite interesting. But they are deadly, and can be ingested in a matter of seconds. Often a parent won't even know this has taken place, and should their child exhibit any symptoms, they can mistakenly assume the affected child has the flu or another virus. Sometimes there aren't any symptoms until it's too late!
Apparently, this is a more common problem than one might think. Every year in the United States, more than 3,500 people of all ages swallow miniature disc or “button” batteries. These are used to power hearing aids, watches, toys, games, flashing jewelry, singing greeting cards, remote control devices, and many other items. The National Capital Poison Center in Washington, DC, operates a 24/7 hotline for battery ingestion cases (202-625-3333).
Most button batteries pass through the body and are eliminated in the stool. However, sometimes batteries get “hung up”, and these are the ones that cause problems. A battery that is stuck in the esophagus is especially likely to cause tissue damage. An electrical current can form around the outside of the battery, generating hydroxide (an alkaline chemical) and causing a tissue burn. When a battery is swallowed, it is impossible to know whether it will pass through or get “hung up”.
If anyone ingests a battery, this is what you should do:
Here are some helpful tips to help prevent the accidental ingestion of button batteries:
• Discard button batteries carefully.
• Do not allow children to play with button batteries, and keep button batteries out of your child's reach.
• Caution hearing aid users to keep hearing aids and batteries out of the reach of children.
• Never put button batteries in your mouth for any reason as they are easily swallowed accidentally.
• Always check medications before ingesting them. Adults have swallowed button batteries mistaken for pills or tablets.
• Keep remotes and other electronics out of your child's reach if the battery compartments do not have a screw to secure them. Use tape to help secure the battery compartment.
DO NOT ASSUME THAT BECAUSE A COVER IS SCREWED ON THAT A CHILD CANNOT ACCESS THE BATTERIES!!!! We learned the hard way that children can BREAK THE COVERS! To the left is a photo of the seemingly innocent toy my daughter broke. Notice that the screw that secured the battery compartment is STILL INTACT!!!
Battery ingestion is a serious risk to children, and one that needs more awareness. I had never heard such a thing until it happened to my daughter! Thank God she seems fine, but it was a rude awakening to the threat that batteries pose to young children. Please, be cautious where batteries are concerned and never assume that a battery operated toy is safe. Always use caution, and do not leave such toys with a young child unless you happen to have eyes in the back of your head. I know I sound like an overly paranoid mother, but this is a growing problem that can have catastrophic consequences, and all parents need to be aware of this. I thank God that my Sophie is alright, but I am angry because this could have been prevented if we just knew the risks. We were RIGHT THERE, and we were watching her. This can happen to any child, any time, and it can happen very, very quickly. I hope you all will be more conscious of the batteries in your household items and will exercise extreme caution when these products are around your children. I know that from now on, we will be.
***All information was found on the National Capitol Poison Center website. Please visit them for more information and statistics regarding accidental battery ingestion.***
PR Friendly Mama!
I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud Mom of 3 amazing kids. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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