HealthCheck

Button batteries & kids a dangerous combo

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

If you expect small children to visit your home this holiday, there's a hazard you'll want to look out for. Button batteries are in everything from electronic toys to greeting cards.

Accidents with kids swallowing button batteries are rising - more than 34-hundred were reported between 2007 and 2009.

The Sadauskas family had one of those incidents. 1-year-old Max swallowed a battery he'd removed from a remote control that was tucked away - one that family didn't even remember they had.

Susan Sadauskas, Max's mother, says, "I never would have thought that he could have gotten this little case off of this battery and ingest something like that."

Doctors say quick action saved Max's life.

Dr. Kris Jatana, a specialist at Nationwide Children's Hospital, "The clock is ticking from the moment the batter is placed inside the body, and serious injury can occur within 2 hours."

A button battery lodged in the esophagus can eat into the airway, or even the aorta - the big blood vessel leading from the heart.

Dr. Jatana says batteries in the nose or ear can also cause injury.

Symptoms a child has swallowed a battery can be vague - a cough, fever, lack of interest in eating, or irritability - similar to a virus.

And he says kids can find them, and ingest them in a matter of minutes. A recent study found that the majority of young children who swallow batteries take them out of toys, cards, and even devices their parents never considered, such as remote controls, or clocks.

"We were extremely lucky. It could have been a lot worse," says Susan.

Dr. Jatana was part of an expert panel that testified in front of the U-S Consumer Products Safety Commission, asking for tighter controls on how button batteries are used in products.

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