We all know the dangers of leaving small objects around children; it can be incredibly hazardous if a child gets their hands on something small enough to swallow. It is common knowledge that babies and toddlers use their mouths to explore things around them, and as worried parents we are often watching our children carefully. Unfortunately, accidents do still occur. However, when it comes to certain small objects, the team here at BuyaBattery want to remind parents of the dangers of having batteries around children, including the high risk of fatality.
Why are they dangerous for children?
Back in 2014, a paediatrician in the UK had warned parents about the dangers of lithium batteries after 2 children swallowed them and died. Dr Kate Parkins noted that another 5 children, in Greater Manchester alone, were reported to have life-changing injuries.
Button cell batteries, round and small in size, could look very similar to sweets and this poses a threat in itself. When they are swallowed, the battery reacts with mucous in the oesophagus and releases an alkali, which is like caustic soda. This can burn through the oesophagus and windpipe, leaving some serious damage behind.
In the news
Very recently, there have been devastating reports in the news of children getting their hands on batteries around the house. In April 2015, a 3-year-old in Northern Ireland swallowed a watch battery. It became stuck in her food pipe and wasn’t discovered until she was taken for an X-ray 5 days later.
Unfortunately, the battery had already burned a hole through her oesophagus, and she has since spent 9 months receiving treatment. Great Ormond Street Hospital removed part of her oesophagus and the little girl now can’t eat or drink properly. Doctors are looking to implement a metal support into her oesophagus, with the hope of maybe lifting her stomach into her chest, in order to create a new food pipe.
The past 12 months
Great Ormond Street has reported a big increase in this type of injury over the last year, claiming they see at least 1 child a month. In May 2016, a 2-year-old girl swallowed a battery she found in the family’s 3D TV glasses. The battery had burnt through an artery close to her windpipe, and sadly she didn’t survive the injuries.
Another small child in Surrey managed to find the batteries in the family’s bathroom scales; she is now being fed through a tube and will require surgery.
What you can do
If you have small children, you should treat batteries the same as you would treat medicine and bleach. Warning signs that your child has swallowed a button battery can include trouble swallowing, vomiting, choking and coughing. An incident like this can cause life-threatening injuries in less than 4 hours; families are advised to take their child straight to A&E.
It’s important that you are extra vigilant when it comes to having batteries around your children. If your child somehow swallows a small part of a toy or something similar, there is a clear choking hazard, but batteries can cause even more damage than that. Many household devices have batteries in them, so it’s important that you store these items safely and not to leave spare batteries lying around the house.
Batteries are a necessity in a lot of our homes, whether it’s for clocks, watches or key fobs. Be aware of the dangers and ensure the batteries stay out of harm’s way.