Every year in the United States, more than 3,500 people of all ages swallow button batteries. Swallowed batteries can burn through a child’s esophagus in just 2 hours! Emergency surgery is required to remove the battery and the child will have a long road to recovery. Lithium coin cell batteries are the most hazardous as they can get stuck in the esophagus and they burn very quickly.
Items that may contain a lithium coin cell battery are:
- Digital thermometers
- Key fob remotes
- Cell phones
- Musical greeting cards
- Flashing pens, shoes and jewelry
- Hearing Aids
Button batteries may also cause permanent injury when they are placed in the nose or the ears. Young children and elderly people have been particularly involved in this kind of incident. Symptoms to watch for are pain and/or a discharge from the nose or ears. DO NOT use nose or ear drops until the person has been examined by a physician, as these fluids can cause additional injury if a battery is involved.
If anyone ingests a battery, immediately call the 24-hour National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 202-625-3333.