MNGI Digestive Health has observed a concerning increase in cases of children inadvertently swallowing button batteries, which can result in severe complications and, in tragic cases, even fatal outcomes. Alarmingly, American Poison Control Centers report over 3,300 such ingestions each year, highlighting the urgency of this issue.
Button batteries, commonly found in everyday household items such as remote controls and toys, present a significant risk due to their small size. These potentially hazardous batteries can also be found in devices like thermometers, watches, hearing aids, flashlights, and singing greeting cards, making them a ubiquitous presence in our homes.
The immediate danger of button battery ingestion lies in their ability to wreak havoc on a child's esophagus and digestive system within minutes. This is primarily attributed to their lithium content, which sustains a potent electrical current even after being removed from the device they power.
In the unfortunate event of a child swallowing a button battery or placing one in an ear or nose, the Poison Control Center strongly recommends taking immediate action by calling the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 800-498-8666. In such situations, time is of the essence, and it is vital not to wait for symptoms to manifest. Quick and decisive action can significantly reduce the potential risks and complications associated with button battery ingestion.
At MNGI, we hope that parents will find ways to talk to their children (if age appropriate) and share this information with other parents, family members, and other caregivers.