But­ton bat­ter­ies can be deadly to young­sters

Central Leader - - NEWS -

An on­line tool will help emer­gency med­i­cal staff and par­ents deal­ing with chil­dren who may have swal­lowed a but­ton bat­tery.

Coin-sized lithium bat­ter­ies, used in many toys and gad­gets, can cause se­ri­ous burn in­juries within two hours if swal­lowed or in­serted in the nose or ears. This can re­sult in se­vere tis­sue dam­age and even death.

The on­line tool pro­vides vi­tal di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment in­for­ma­tion, Safekids Aotearoa di­rec­tor Ann Weaver says.

She says doc­tors and emer­gency med­i­cal staff must pay close at­ten­tion when pre­sented with a child sus­pected of swal­low­ing or in­sert­ing a but­ton bat­tery.

‘‘Symp­toms of but­ton bat­tery ex­po­sure are sim­i­lar to other com­mon ill­nesses, such as cough­ing, drool­ing, loss of ap­petite and dis­com­fort. In x-rays, but­ton bat­ter­ies can also be mis­taken for a coin.’’

The Na­tional Poi­sons Cen­tre has re­ceived 175 calls about chil­dren un­der 6 swal­low­ing or in­sert­ing bat­ter­ies in their nose and ears in the past three years. Sixty-one chil­dren were hos­pi­talised at Star­ship from March 2009 to Fe­bru­ary 2012.

The new tool can also be used by par­ents and care­givers.

A child should be taken im­me­di­ately to the near­est hospi­tal emer­gency depart­ment even if there is a small pos­si­bil­ity that a but­ton bat­tery has been swal­lowed or in­serted in the nose or ears, Weaver says.

Se­ri­ous dan­ger:

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