Tiny bat­ter­ies put young kids at risk

Central Leader - - NEWS -

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.

‘‘Too

of­ten,

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.

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