published Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Toddlers at risk for battery incidents

American Association of Poison Control Centers

When you think of "poison," you probably don't think of "battery." But those small, round, flat batteries that power everything from remote controls to hearing aids to greeting cards and children's books with lights and sounds can be extremely poisonous if swallowed.

Small batteries, often known as button or coin batteries, can be found in almost every home in America. Most children's products using small batteries are required to have a secured compartment to lessen the chance of a child swallowing a battery.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, a growing number of young children and senior adults are swallowing these batteries. Rarely do people realize the severe harm these batteries can cause.

If swallowed, the button battery may pass through the body without causing harm. If the battery becomes lodged in the throat, esophagus, stomach or intestine, however, the outcome can be fatal.

The nation's 57 poison control centers recommend these steps to prevent children and seniors from swallowing button batteries.

  • Keep batteries in original packaging until ready for use.

  • Do not leave button batteries lying around, as they can be easily mistaken for medicine or candy.

  • Keep button batteries out of children's reach.

  • Do not allow children to play with button batteries or items whose button batteries are easily accessible. Children's toys should have a secure compartment for batteries.

  • Properly dispose of button batteries. Dead batteries can still cause injury.

  • If someone swallows a button battery, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

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