Button batteries a ‘bomb’ in the throat

Button battery. (National Capital Poison Center)
Button battery. (National Capital Poison Center)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Batteries are a holiday staple.

Kids need them to run all those toys Santa left under the tree, but button batteries are especially dangerous.

Dayton Children’s Hospital wants parents to keep them in their sights. Button batteries are easy to swallow and can do a lot of damage.

“It looks like a little bomb has gone off in a child’s throat,” says Ravi Elluru, MD, PhD, advanced pediatric airway, ear, nose and throat doctor at Dayton Children’s. “You can see the indentation in the esophagus where the battery was and a lot of blackened scar tissue around it.”

Dr. Elluru says the battery can get lodged being the larynx. An electrical reaction occurs in the lining of the throat the produces a chemical that can eat away at the tissue.

The damage can happen in as little as two hours.

Some simple safety ideas can save parents and their children a lot of heartache:

  • Keep the gadget out of reach of children
  • Put a piece of duct tape over the battery compartment to stop children from getting the button battery out
  • Keep a close eye on your child while playing with toys that use button batteries

If you think your child swallowed a button battery, get to the emergency department right away. The longer the battery stays in the throat, the more damage it can do.

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