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Hidden dangers - button batteries

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Button batteries power everything from remote controls to singing greeting cards. Often smaller than a quarter, these increasingly popular batteries can be deadly if swallowed.

Nearly 12,000 children under the age of six years old swallowed the batteries from 2008 to 2012, according to the National Poison Data System. The number of serious injuries or deaths as a result of button batteries has increased nine-fold in the last decade.

Once a child swallows a button battery, there’s a ticking clock to get medical attention. A child could suffer severe burns to the esophagus within just two hours.


  • Keep button battery controlled devices out of children’s sight and reach. Such devices include remote controls, singing greeting cards or books, games, children’s toys, digital scales, watches, hearing aids, thermometers, calculators, key fobs, t-light candles, flashing holiday jewelry or decorations.
  • Keep loose batteries locked away or place a piece of duct tape over devices to prevent small children from getting to the battery. The number one device linked to battery ingestion cases? Remote controls.
  • Share this life-saving information with everyone who watches your child – caregivers, friends, family members and babysitters.
  • If parents don’t witness the child swallowing a button battery, it could be hard for doctor’s to diagnose. The symptoms for ingesting a battery are at first similar to those of a common viral illnesses.
  • If you suspect your child has ingested a battery, go to the hospital immediately. Don’t induce vomiting or have your child eat or drink anything until seen by a medical professional.
  • Keep the National Battery Ingestion Hotline phone number handy: 202-625-3333.

Safe Kids Worldwide

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