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Button and Coin Battery Safety

Silver oxide button batteries and lithium coin cells can pose a significant threat to young children, primarily those age 6 and under. If one of these small batteries is ingested, it can begin to do serious damage within two hours. They can burn the esophagus and expose it to bacteria in the GI Tract, which could result in massive infection spreading rapidly throughout the body.

With the increasing number of devices using these batteries, poison centers have seen a rise in ingestion cases over the past few years. In 2012, The National Capital Poison Center reported receiving 3,435 ingestion cases and 2 fatalities, with 66% of them occurring in children under the age of 6.

Button and Coin Battery Safety

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Given the severity of physical damage that can be caused by swallowing these batteries, here are a few helpful tips to avoid battery ingestion in your household:

  • Know which products contain these tiny, harmful batteries – a few common devices that use them are: flameless candles, musical greeting cards, key fobs, watches and clocks, flashlights, many toys, calculators, book lights, remote controls, hearing aids, weight scales, and digital thermometers. (62% of all cases reported are of batteries that have been taken from devices)
  • Make sure these items are safely out of reach of small children, and/or their battery compartments are securely closed and unable to open without the use of a tool.
  • If the batteries are removed, be sure to dispose of them quickly and properly, not leaving them lying around (30% of cases are of batteries that have been left lying around)
  • Packaged batteries that are accessible to small children are also dangerous. A child may find a way to remove them, so do not leave packaged batteries lying around. (8% of cases reported are of batteries that are removed from packaging)

IF ingestion occurs, ACT FAST and get the ingesting person to the hospital as quickly as possible!

Call the National Battery Ingestion Hotline if you have any questions – 1-202-625-3333.