Two years ago a good friend who is always, always, always online wasn’t on Skype when I got up and got ready to work. I searched my addled brain to try to remember if she’d mentioned any special outing that might have take her away from her usual post, but, other than vaguely remembering that her son had been complaining of a tummy ache, I came up blank. So I headed over to Twitter and Facebook to find some clues.
I didn’t get a clue, I got a chilling answer.
My friend’s son had swallowed a button battery and was being rushed to the children’s hospital an hour away. The battery was lodged in his throat and was busy burning a hole in his esophagus.
I don’t pretend the remember the details of that day, though I’m sure his mom relives it in many of her nightmares (and you can read it here), I do remember the horror I felt as I tried to imagine just how many things in our home contain button batteries.
Think about it. They’re in everything. Every little toy. Every watch. Every musical card. They’re in things you don’t even think might contain batteries. And, unlike products designed for specifically for kids, with battery covers that screw shut, most items have easy to open compartments.
Did you know that it only takes about two hours for a button battery to cause serious burns in a child’s esophagus? Another hour of waiting at home to see if his tummy ache would go away and my friend’s son might have been in the hospital for months recovering from serious reconstructive surgery.
Did you know that in 2010, there were more than 3,400 reported cases of children ingesting button batteries? The number of cases of children swallowing batteries has more than quadrupled in the past five years, but since the symptoms of coin-sized button battery ingestion may be similar to other childhood illnesses, such as coughing, drooling and discomfort the situation often goes goes unreported.
My friend’s son was incredibly lucky, first that his mom trusted her mother’s intuition and rushed him to the ER and second that he got there in time for the battery to be removed safely. Not all kids are this lucky.
- Be proactive. Keep button batteries and devices that use them out of reach if the battery compartments aren’t secure.
- Act quickly. If a child swallows a battery, go to the emergency room right away.
- Spread the word. Tell others about this hidden danger and share these steps.
For more information on this important issue and for tips on how to protect your family, visit www.thebatterycontrolled.com or join the conversation on Facebook www.facebook.com/thebatterycontrolled or Twitter: www.twitter.com/batterycontrol Hashtag: #BatteryControlled
Still not convinced that there are button batteries lurking in your home? Maybe this video will change that.
Please note, I was compensated to share this information with you, but my concern for your little ones is very real. Keep the kids safe this holiday season.