Safe Kids USA and Energizer Join Together to Prevent Button Battery Ingestion

Safe Kids USA and Energizer have joined together to raise awareness about the risks of toddlers swallowing coin litium batteries.  These coin-sized button batteries can lodge in the throats of children.  The saliva immediately triggers an electrical current that causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the esophagus in as little as two hours.  Once the burning reaction begins, it can continue even after the battery is removed.  Batteries placed in the nose, ear and other areas can also cause severe tissue damage.

Where the Risk Hides

Coin-sized button batteries, approximately the size of a nickel, are found in everyday devices such as:

  • Mini remote control devices that unlock car doors and control MP3 speakers
  • Calculators and watches
  • Bathroom scales
  • Reading lights
  • Flameless candles
  • Talking and singing books and greeting cards

Serious Complications and Deaths are Increasing

The number of cases where children have been seriously hurt or have died has more than quadrupled in the past five years (2006-2010) compared to the five years prior (2001-2005). In 2010 alone, there were more than 3,400 swallowing cases reported in the U.S., according to Dr. Toby Litovitz, of the National Capital Poison Center.

Steps for Parents and Caregivers

  • Examine devices and make sure the battery compartment is secure.
  • Keep coin-sized button batteries and devices out of sight and out of reach.
  • Go to the emergency room immediately if swallowing is suspected.
  • Call the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 1-800-498-8666 for additional treatment information.
  • Tell others about this threat and share these steps.

For more information and a video to post on Facebook, go to

Safe Kids Oregon works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under, and is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Oregon was founded in 1995 and is led by Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Division.

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