During the holidays, your children will get toys that blink, light up, sing and shine. However, the batteries powering those fun toys can be extremely dangerous to them. In honor of Safe Toys and Gifts Month opens in new window, Batteries Plus would like to encourage parents to take measures to keep button cell batteries out of their reach.
Button cells are small, disk-shaped batteries (most-commonly used for calculators, watches, toys and hearing aids) that can easily be swallowed. According to Medline Plus opens in new window, the number of children treated in emergency rooms for button cell related injuries has almost doubled over the past 20 years.
These miniature power sources contain chemicals that strongly react to make electricity. If swallowed, they can cause choking, burns, abdominal pain and bleeding. Take the following precautions to prevent serious injury:
- Most importantly, keep them out of reach of children. This includes tables, counter tops, garbage cans and easy-accessible cabinets – basically, any place in your home a curious toddler could get to.
- Properly dispose of used batteries. Follow your local EPA opens in new window requirements for proper disposal and recycling.
- Don't insert or change batteries in front of small children. Their curiosity is only heightened when they see their parents using button cells.
- Even if you're remotely suspicious your child has swallowed a battery, get to an emergency room right away.
- Make sure toys that use button cell batteries have secure battery compartments that can't be opened by little fingers.
- Be especially cautious with any product that contains a battery that is as big as a penny or larger.
- The 20 mm diameter lithium cell is one of the most serious problems when swallowed.
- These cells can be recognized by their imprint (engraved numbers and letters) and often have one of these three codes: CR2032, CR2025, CR2016.
- If swallowed and not removed promptly, these larger button batteries can cause severe damage.
- For more information, check here.
Batteries Plus has over 30,000 batteries and trained associates there to answer questions, so stop in to your local store for additional information. The Battery Controlled opens in new window – a partnership to raise awareness about the severity of this issue and share information with parents, caregivers and the medical community – is also a great resource.