More people have been visiting hospitals because of battery problems in the past decade than in the prior two decades combined. This is what the findings of a recent study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Safe Kids Worldwide indicate. Every 1.25 hours, a youngster was treated in the emergency room after experiencing battery problems.
While not all reports contain information about the type of battery used, data analysis from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) revealed that button batteries were responsible for 85% of the injuries recorded. More than eighty-four percent of patients in the last 10 years were youngsters younger than five, and those injuries tended to be more severe.
Emergency rooms and hospitals around the country are receiving an increasing number of patients with these types of injuries. Kids are more likely to have access to button batteries as technology has been more widely available over the years.
Parents, especially those with young children who like to put new things in their mouths, will likely do a mental inventory of all of the batteries in the house after reading those numbers. Caretakers should aware that battery ingestion is a dangerous yet preventable problem, according to experts.
Risks Associated with Swallowing a Button Battery
Parents constantly reassure their young children that it is not safe to swallow anything that is not food. However, due to their purpose, batteries pose a unique threat if eaten. Because of their diminutive stature, button batteries are more frequently eaten than larger battery types like AAs.
The most dangerous phase occurs when it is still in the esophagus. Changes in tissue pH result in a chemical burn caused by hydroxide radicals, which are generated when current flows from the positive to the negative terminal of a battery.
It’s the equivalent of drinking dish soap. Battery acid can be toxic, but it is less likely to do so if it passes through a child’s digestive tract and into the stomach or small intestine rather than becoming trapped in the esophagus. For some cases, chemical combustion can persist long after the battery has been removed.
The pH balance will be altered even after the battery is removed, and it may be some time before the damage ceases. Tragic fatalities have occurred even after the battery was removed, often after several days or weeks. Tissue is delicate as it heals. Next to the aorta is the esophagus.
When someone swallows anything, the most typical way they die is because the injury eroded a hole in the wall of their esophagus and into their aorta, which can produce a catastrophic bleeding episode.
Smaller children, especially those younger than four years old, seem to be at the greatest risk for severe harm from battery ingestion. Even if they do manage to swallow the battery, its small size makes it simple for it to become trapped in their still-developing esophagus.
If you swallow a button battery, what signs should you look out for?
The symptoms usually manifest rapidly after a youngster consumes a battery. According to Poison Control, worried parents should act if their child:
- Breathing with a wheeze or difficulty
- feeling discomfort in the chest
- Having trouble swallowing, gagging frequently, or refusing to consume anything
More minor symptoms may be brought on by weaker, older batteries. Ingestion of a button battery can cause a variety of symptoms, including a persistent cough, a sudden refusal to eat, or both.
When Should I Worry That My Child Has Swallowed a Battery?
If you suspect that your child has swallowed a button battery, you should seek medical attention right once. Pick a kid’s hospital because they have the tools to change the battery right there. It’s critical that you rush your kid to the hospital.
In animal studies, the esophagus might start to become damaged after only 15 minutes. In less than two hours, we have had patients whose esophagus completely fused shut after they came in for therapy.
Giving honey to a youngster who has swallowed a battery has been shown to lessen the severity of the injury. As the battery is removed, give two tablespoons every ten minutes. Even if a child younger than 12 months old ingests batteries, honey shouldn’t be given to them.
Honey’s mild acidity mitigates the damage from the battery and its viscous nature prevents the battery from directly contacting the esophagus how honey mitigates wounding in this way.
Call the 24-hour National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 800-498-8666 if you suspect that your child has eaten a button battery or has one lodged in his or her nose or ear.
How can I keep my child safe from swallowing batteries?
Be cautious of any and all batteries in the house, and double-check all battery compartments to verify they are childproof. To prevent the battery compartments from becoming damaged or loose, parents should check on their children frequently. It takes a tool to unlock the safest battery boxes.
As a general rule, it is best to keep button batteries and children well apart. In addition, while replacing a button battery, parents and caregivers should ensure that the old battery is disposed of safely to prevent it from being accidentally swallowed.
If you have kids, especially ones who are 5 or younger, it’s a good idea to take stock of what gadgets in your home might use button batteries and whether or not your kid could access them. According to experts, those devices should be kept out of reach at all times. If your child ingested a battery, call 911 or take them to a children’s hospital. A catastrophe could have been avoided with a little extra care.