Battery swallowing injuries rising in kids

A study in the journal Pediatrics this week had me checking on my various battery operated contraptions to make sure the lithium button batteries were securely installed. It turns out, more and more kids are being seriously injured after they swallow “button” batteries.

So parents, make sure you keep track of all those “button” batteries commonly used to power watches, calculators and hearing aids.

Young children who find the coin-shaped batteries often swallow them, sometimes leading to burns and even death. The most dangerous batteries are at least 20 millimeters in diameter — about the size of a push-pin head, according to the study in Pediatrics.

Researchers from Georgetown University, the University of Virginia, and the National Capital Poison Center reported that cases resulting in serious injury or death increased almost sevenfold from 1985 to 2009. They found 13 deaths and 73 injuries.

The larger batteries can become lodged in the airway, or esophagus, causing burns that can lead to perforations and hemorrhages in as little as two hours. That makes is critically important for doctors and care givers to quickly diagnose the problem even though in most cases, kids swallowed batteries they had removed from products themselves while parents and caregivers were not present.

Still it seems like a good idea to make sure they batteries are secure in the products that use them or somewhere the children can’t get at them if you have little ones running around.

Check out the full study here.

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