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Hidden Dangers for Children
Batteries Can Pose Real Threat
June 25, 2012 - Children's Specialized Hospital

As Safe Kids Coordinator for Union County, Susan Driscoll urges parents to keep battery-controlled devices out of sight and out of reach of small children and to lock away loose batteries. Mini remote controls, cards that sing, flameless tea lights and many more electronic devices have something in common: they are powered by coin lithium batteries, which children might mistake for a nickel. The batteries inside, if swallowed, can get stuck in a child’s throat and cause serious injury, disability, and even death and it is preventable. Parents should also tell friends, family members, sitters and caregivers about this important issue.
When a battery gets stuck in a child’s throat, the saliva triggers an electrical current which in turn triggers a chemical reaction that can severely burn the esophagus in as little as two hours. Once the burning reaction begins, it can continue even after the battery is removed. Sadly, repairing the damage is painful and can require feeding tubes, breathing tubes and multiple surgeries. The symptoms can be easily overlooked. Crying, vomiting, fever, wheezing, drooling, and fever may be mistaken for a respiratory infection.
The Union County Safe Kids Program at Children’s Specialized Hospital reports that Safe Kids USA and Energizer Battery have partnered together to raise awareness of this issue and prevent injury to kids. Energizer is developing new packaging for coin-sized button batteries that is harder to open for children and includes improved safety warnings.
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