Button batteries present real dangers to children

Posted By Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge || May 17, 2012

Real dangers from batteries may be all around a family's home without them even realizing it. Because of this, some are pushing for manufacturers to think of not only the safety of children's toys, but also all products in the home, even those not marketed toward children.

Recently, a study that was published in Pediatrics analyzed data from 1990 to 2009 and found that battery-related children's injuries were on the rise. Overall, during that time period there were roughly 66,000 children under the age of 18 who went to an emergency department due to some kind of battery-related incident.

Additionally, when looking at a breakdown from the first year to the last year of the study, in 1990 there were 2,591 kids across the U.S. who visited an emergency room for issues related to batteries. In 2009 the total number was 5,525.

Overall, the most common type of battery-related injury was due to a child under the age of 18 ingesting one. However, the medical complications go way beyond choking, as a battery can end up becoming lodged in a child's esophagus and lead to holes being burned in their throats, which could then lead to breathing issues and infections.

When looking at why there has been such an increase, the study suggests a rather large reason would be the fact that button batteries, which are shiny and about the size of a coin, are in almost everything these days, from bathroom scales to watches. And while there are stricter standards for these batteries when it comes to children's toys, there are not the same manufacturing standards and precautions when the batteries are used in everyday household products that children still easily have access to.

Aside from manufacturers being urged to take more precaution in making sure button batteries are securely fastened inside of a device, one child injury prevention specialist said it's also important for parents to know where batteries are and just how dangerous ingesting one could be.

For example, after a child does ingest a battery, the symptoms may be very flu-like. However, this is not something a parent should wait out. Rather, that child must be taken to the emergency room immediately to hopefully prevent any further damage.

Categories: Personal Injury
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