In Australia, two children have died from button battery related injuries. Each week, an estimated 20 children visit an emergency department with suspected exposure to button batteries.
If a child swallows a button battery it can get stuck in their oesophagus or elsewhere in their system, and burn through soft tissue in as little as two hours, causing serious illness or death. The most serious cases involve 10 cent-sized batteries, but all sizes can be dangerous. Children under five years old are at the greatest risk.
First Aid Information
Damaged batteries release concentrated potassium hydroxide, which is caustic.
IF YOU SUSPECT THAT A CHILD HAS CONSUMED A BATTERY: DO NOT allow the child to eat or drink. DO NOT induce vomiting. CALL the POISONS INFORMATION CENTRE on 13 11 26 or go to a hospital emergency room. Batteries lodged in the oesophagus should be removed immediately since leakage, caustic burns and perforation can occur as soon as two hours after ingestion. If mouth area irritation or burning has occurred, rinse the mouth and surrounding area with water for at least 15 minutes.
Eye Contact: If battery is leaking and material contacts the eye, flush the eye with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. Seek immediate medical attention.
Skin Contact: If battery is leaking and material contacts the skin, flush affected areas with plenty of water. Remove contaminated clothing immediately. Seek immediate medical attention.
Inhalation: If battery is leaking, contents may be irritating to respiratory tract. Move to fresh air. If irritation persists, seek medical attention.
Don't forget our furry friends!
Hearing aids and button batteries look like tasty treats to the untrained eye!
Battery ingestion is can cause serious harm to pets too. If you suspect that your pet has swallowed a battery - like in this instance >> - seek advice from your vet as soon as possible.
Keep button batteries and devices, like hearing aids, out of sight and out of reach of small children and animals.
Store loose/used batteries in a tightly sealed container until they may be taken to a recycling centre (or bring them to us and we can do it for you!)
Examine devices and make sure the battery compartment is secure.
Dispose of used button batteries immediately. Flat batteries can still be dangerous.
Tell others about the risk associated with button batteries and how to keep their children and pets safe.