“Button” batteries are risky for children; Research

Button batteries

Researchers have found that the “button” batteries are posing a greater risk for children.

This research has been published online in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

[hana-code-insert name=’StumbleUpon’ /][hana-code-insert name=’Reddit’ /]Researchers have worked on nearly 100 U.S. hospitals with 24-hour emergency rooms and found that 65,000 children under age 18 had a battery-related emergency visit between 1990 and 2009. They have pointed that the coin-shaped batteries in the toys, remote controls and the hearing aids have doubled the emergency room visits in the past two decades i.e. from 4 children in 100,000 children to between 7 and 8 children in 100,000 children.

“Button” batteries can lodge or wedge in the esophagus and push on its walls. Acid from the battery can also be leaked, if the casing around the battery is destroyed. They have also reported that the “button” batteries have an additional risk of burning a hole in the trachea or the esophagus without representing any signs of immediate injury as they can send electrical current through the tissues in the esophagus.

“If a child swallows a button battery, the parent might not see it happen and the child might not have symptoms initially – and the clock is ticking,” said Gary Smith, head of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, one of the authors of the study.

“We’ve seen children in less than two hours have severe, severe injuries from button batteries getting caught in the esophagus.”

“The real way to prevent these (emergencies) is to prevent the event from happening in the first place,” Smith said. “If (parents) suspect something, they need to get to the hospital and get an X-ray done immediately.”


Samantha J. Sharpe, BS, Lynne M. Rochette, PhD, and Gary A. Smith, MD, DrPH, (2012). Pediatric Battery-Related Emergency Department Visits in the United States, 1990–2009. Pediatrics, doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-0012


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