Button Battery Dangers For Children

Button Battery Dangers For Children

Many electronic toys and devices have button batteries. They are very dangerous for young children if swallowed or put in nostrils or ears. 

Safekids Button Batteries FINAL

In this video produced by Safekids Aotearoa, 2 children, Jess and Ayva, demonstrate how dangerous button batteries can be for children if swallowed, or put in nostrils or ears. 

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Key points about button battery dangers for children

  • if you think your child has swallowed a button battery or put one in their nostril or ear, take immediate action - go straight to the hospital 
  • button batteries are very dangerous for children if they swallow one or put one in their ear or nostril
  • if a child swallows or puts a button battery in their nose or ears, it can get stuck. Saliva starts an electrical current. This causes severe burns and damage within 2 hours 

What should I do if my child swallows a button battery?

Go straight to hospital

Take immediate action. Go straight to the hospital if you think your child has swallowed or put a button battery in their nose or ears.

Tell reception, doctors and nurses you think your child might have swallowed a button battery. 

Honey can help

If it won't delay getting to the hospital, give your child 2 teaspoons of honey every 10 minutes.

For babies under 12 months, there is a risk of honey causing botulism. For this reason, honey is usually not recommended for this age group. But, there is much greater risk of serious burns and damage from swallowing the button battery. 

Don't give your child any other food or drink. It is best not to make them vomit. 

Know the battery ID number? 

If you have the identification number of the battery (found on the battery's pack), take it with you to hospital. This could be really helpful to the medical team.

Watch this demonstration video on what happens when a button battery is swallowed using a slice of ham (as an example of how it can affect the inside of a child's body). Video from Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

How to keep kids safe from button battery injuries 

Kids under 6 are at the greatest risk of injury from button batteries. The batteries look shiny and interesting to young children.

To keep your children safe: 

  • search your home, and any place your child goes, for gadgets that may contain button batteries
  • keep button battery-controlled devices out of sight and reach of babies and small children, and keep loose batteries locked away
  • share this life-saving information with caregivers, friends, family and whānau

A photo of lithium button batteries in a green packet

Button batteries are found in items such as remote controls, scales, calculators, singing/flashing greeting cards, watches, thermometers, decorations and flashing jewellery.

 

This page last reviewed 23 August 2019.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night for free health advice when you need it