Button batteries are more of an enticing plaything for young children than the toy it powers. Because they are shiny, smooth, and tiny, it is so easy for children to ingest or place into their ears or nose, as one mom we know discovered.
This mom-of-two was shocked and horrified to find a bulge right in between her youngest son’s eyes. The bulge had a foul odor, and the little boy was complaining of pain. She rushed her son to a hospital and found out that he managed to lodge a button battery into one of his nostrils. It had been there for a few days already, and no one in the family knew or noticed. The doctors warned the mom that medical problems could arise from the incident as he grows up.
To show you just what button batteries are capable of doing to child, here's a video by Kidspot, which placed one inside a sausage and observed what would happen to it every few hours.
In an hour, you could already see the burn marks the battery made on the meat. As the hours progressed, the marks got worse and worse. In just two and a half hours, the meat around the battery turned grey.
Button batteries are found in small electronic gadgets (like calculators, thermometers, remote controls) and toys. A button battery still shores up charge even long after it has stopped powering a device. So what we may think as an empty or “dead” battery can still cause serious injury to a child.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there may be no symptoms at all of a lodged or swallowed button battery in a child. It could also be that symptoms are similar to those of a common infection. “This makes it challenging for health care professionals who are evaluating the child,” says the AAP.
In some instances, drainage or pain can be seen from button batteries placed in the nasal cavity or ear canal. When left untreated, it can cause severe tissue damage, hearing loss, and facial nerve paralysis.
Button batteries lodged in the body--a possibility with a child who has ingested one--can cause significant tissue injury even within two hours (as proven in the video above), says the AAP. “While damage may be caused by alkaline material in the battery leaking out, the primary danger comes from the electrical current causing a 'chemical burn' to body tissues when the battery becomes lodged,” says Robert L. Martin, PhD.
Serious cases can lead to death like in this tragic incident of a 2-year-old girl last December 2015).
Keep your child safe by:
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Going through all the battery-powered devices and toys in your home and making sure the battery compartment has a lid that cannot be opened by a child, such as one that is secured with a screw.
Keep loose batteries far from children by keeping them in a locked drawer or container.
Whenever possible, do not choose battery operated toys for babies and preschoolers who may not yet understand the dangers of button batteries.
If you suspect that your child has placed a battery inside his body, take him to a hospital immediately.