SAFETY TIPS FOR BUTTON BATTERIES
safely and handle them carefully!
While most button
battery ingestions are benign, passing through the gut without a
problem, in recent years the number of debilitating or fatal battery
ingestions has dramatically increased. Thirty-four deaths and 132 cases
with severe esophageal or airway burns and subsequent complications have
been reported, even in patients who initially have no symptoms after
swallowing the battery. These disastrous outcomes occur when
batteries get stuck in the esophagus, usually in small children.
Large diameter button batteries, especially 20 mm diameter lithium coin
cells, are implicated in most of these serious cases, but other battery
types and smaller button batteries may also get stuck and cause serious
problems. Burns and life-threatening complications can occur if
batteries aren't removed from the esophagus within 2 hours.
Batteries beyond the esophagus rarely cause a problem and can usually be
left to pass spontaneously if the patient remains asymptomatic.
Serious complications have also been seen when small batteries are
placed in the nose or ear - another situation where urgent removal is
Tips for Protecting Young Children
leave batteries sitting out. Store spare batteries, and batteries to
be recycled, out of sight and reach of young children. If recycling
is not possible, wrap used batteries securely and discard them where
a child canít find them.
household devices to be certain the battery compartment is secured
shut. Use strong tape to secure compartments that children can open
or that might pop open if the device is dropped. Only purchase
products that require a screwdriver or tool to open the battery
compartment, or that are closed with a child-resistant locking
mechanism. Batteries are everywhere.
garage door openers
keyless entry fobs
singing greeting cards
handheld video games
home medical equipment/meters
flash and pen lights
toothbrushes, bedwetting monitors
flashing or lighted jewelry or attire
any household item that is powered!
Be especially cautious with any product that contains a battery that
is as big as a penny or larger.
The 20 mm diameter lithium cell is one of the most serious problems
These problem cells can be recognized by their imprint (engraved
numbers and letters) and often have one of these 3 codes: CR2032,
If swallowed and not removed promptly, these larger
can cause death -- or burn a hole through your child's esophagus.
children to play with batteries or with battery powered products
that have easily accessible batteries.
Make sure all hearing aids for children have child-resistant battery
compartments and make sure the lock is activated when the child is
wearing the aid.
members who wear hearing aids to the importance of keeping the
batteries out of reach of small children at all times. That
can be quite a burden since most hearing aid users remove the
batteries from the aids each time they take the aids off.
Don't insert or
change batteries in front of small children.
Tips for Protecting
Older Children and Adults:
Never put batteries in your mouth, to test, to hold, or for any
reason. They are slippery and easily swallowed.
Don't mistake batteries for pills. Don't store batteries near pills
or in pill bottles. Donít leave them on bedside tables or
place them loose in your pocket or purse. Look at every medicine you
intend to swallow. Turn on the lights, put on your glasses, read the
label and look at the medicine itself.
If you use a hearing aid, these steps are especially important.
All too often, the tiny hearing aid batteries are ingested with or
instead of medications.
Avoid storing or leaving batteries where they might be mistaken for,
or swallowed with, food.
Don't leave batteries in drinking glasses or adjacent to nuts,
candy, popcorn or other finger foods.
If a Battery is
Swallowed or Placed in the Ear or Nose:
Call the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at
202-625-3333, immediately. Prompt action is critical. Donít wait
for symptoms to develop. If the battery was swallowed, donít eat or drink until an x-ray shows
the battery is beyond the esophagus. Batteries stuck in the
esophagus must be removed as quickly as possible as severe damage
can occur in just 2 hours. Batteries in the nose or ear also
must be removed immediately to avoid permanent damage.