Button batteries are sending more children to the emergency room than in recent years, a study finds

Button batteries are sending more children to the emergency room than in recent years, a study finds

Button batteries are sending more children to the emergency room than in recent years, a study finds

The number of children sent to the emergency room after ingesting small lithium batteries – also known as “button” batteries – has more than doubled in the past decade, according to a new study.

A report published Monday in the magazine Pediatrics found that, between 2010 and 2019, more than 70,000 children visited the emergency room, due to injuries from swallowing or inserting button cell batteries in their mouth, nose or ears. This is compared to approximately 68,000 battery-related pediatric accidents from 1990 to 2009.

Researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the non-profit organization Safe Kids Worldwide also revealed that every 75 minutes, a child aged 18 or younger in the United States visited an emergency room for a battery-related injury in the United States. last decade. Among the cases where the type of battery was known, button batteries accounted for 85% of injuries.

“Button batteries remain a major hazard in the home that can cause serious and even life-threatening injury if ingested by a child,” said Dr. Gary A Smith, study co-author and professor of pediatrics at Ohio State University.

These small, round, shiny batteries are used to power a range of small electronic devices that can be found in homes, including remote controls, toys, watches, hearing aids, and flashlights. Button cell batteries, which can often be easily removed from devices, pose a serious risk if ingested because they can burn through a child’s esophagus, causing life-threatening injury or even death. According to the study, 12% of battery exposure led to immediate hospitalization.

“Unfortunately, past prevention efforts have not yet led to a significant reduction in injury rates,” said Mark Chandler, lead author of the study and senior research associate at Safe Kids Worldwide. “Both regulatory efforts and increased public awareness of the dangers are needed. Until the industry adopts a safe battery compartment design and ultimately safer button cell technology, these injuries in children will continue. “

In 2017, the Consumer Product Safety Commission approved new guidelines and testing standards for coin cell battery powered devices. Earlier this month, Congress unanimously passed Reese’s law, which requires manufacturers to include a warning label instructing customers to keep batteries out of the reach of children.

Following the new study, Safe Kids Worldwide issued several recommendations for parents and caregivers to help reduce battery damage. Safety advocates have warned parents to keep button battery devices out of the sight and reach of children, particularly those under the age of five. Parents should also make sure that a device’s coin cell battery is securely contained within a battery compartment and screwed shut so that it is difficult for children to reach.

If a child has ingested a coin cell battery, some of the symptoms may look like a cold, such as fever, sore throat, or difficulty breathing. In the event that a child has swallowed a battery, Nationwide Children’s Hospital recommends giving a child 12 months of age or older two teaspoons of honey every 10 minutes before taking him to the emergency room.

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