Button Battery Deaths On The Rise
The U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission has issued a new warning about the dangers of small button batteries. These coin sized batteries are becoming increasingly popular due to their versatility. Found in toys, lighted decorations, musical cards and television remotes, the batteries are small enough to be accidentally swallowed by the elderly, children and pets.
While these batteries can pass through the digestive system without harm, in many cases they become wedged in the stomach, throat or intestines. The high acidity of these areas slowly dissolves the metal coating and eventually leads to the release of toxic chemicals that cause serious injury or death. The hydroxide used inside these batteries causes severe chemical burns with any body tissue it comes in contact with.
The National Capital Poison Center has discovered that deaths and serious injuries resulting from these batteries has risen seven times over since 1985, due to the popularity of these small and disposable batteries. Many toys and games designed for children contain the batteries which are swallowed when the child opens the battery case. The elderly mistake them for pills, especially when they are stored near similar sized medications.
The severity of the chemical burns is often exacerbated by misdiagnoses. The symptoms are similar to other common childhood illnesses, or no symptoms may be present until serious damage is done. Thankfully, these accidents are preventable with special care. Button batteries should be discarded to prevent accidental ingestion. Older adults should check their mediation for color and stamped signs to ensure they aren’t eating a battery instead. If your eyesight is not strong enough to see the details, ask a friend to check your medications and keep them in a separate container. Any toys or remotes that children have access to must have screws on their battery case, or they must be kept out of reach.