Tiny batteries put young kids at risk
Little batteries can do enormous harm if children swallow them.
Safekids New Zealand and Consumer Affairs are warning parents and caregivers about the potential dangers of swallowing coin-shaped lithium batteries.
The batteries, commonly found in singing greeting cards, talking books, key remotes, some television remotes and other small electronic devices, can lodge in the throats of babies and young children.
Once there, saliva triggers an electrical current which causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the oesophagus in as little as two hours.
Repairing that damage is painful and can require feeding tubes, breathing tubes and multiple surgeries.
From March 2009 to February 2012, there were 61 battery ingestion-related cases at Starship Children’s Health.
Seventeen of those cases required general anaesthetic to have the battery removed and for further treatment.
The threat of button battery ingestion injuries is invisible, Safekids NZ says. Many devices containing the batteries are not toys and have compartments easy to open.
these devices are left within reach of young children. Talking books, singing greeting cards and car key remotes are often shared with children for their amusement,’’ a spokeswoman says.
‘‘The batteries inside, if swallowed, can cause serious injury and even death,’’ she says.
Little horrors: Children are at great risk if they swallow lithium batteries.