Button Batteries: Small in size but a big risk!

ButtonBatteryButton batteries may be small in size, but they can pose big problems for children if they are swallowed!

This Christmas, Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service is warning parents to keep button batteries out of the reach of babies and children.

A decade ago button battery related injuries were rare, but Doctors at leading children’s hospitals are now reporting a sharp increase. Over the past year, Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital alone has reported a 60% rise in the number of button battery related admissions.

If swallowed, button batteries can become lodged in the oesophagus where they can give off a small charge, even if they are used. Mixed with saliva, this will then cause caustic soda to form and burn through the skin. Burning can continue, even when the battery is removed. Children often suffer internal burns that leave holes in their organs.

Warwickshire County Councillor John Horner, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said: “Button batteries are now found in many electronic products including toys and musical Christmas cards and because they are small and shiny, they are attractive to small children and can pose a serious danger.”

Warwickshire County Councillor Philip Johnson, Chair of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee added: “Warwickshire Trading Standards carried out safety tests on a range of button battery powered toys and encouragingly, none of the batteries could be accessed by children. However, we strongly urge parents to check toy battery compartments to make sure they are secure and keep other button battery products such as musical cards, key rings and flameless candles out of children’s reach.”

Parental Advice

  • In under four hours, a swallowed button battery can cause life threatening injuries
  • Warning signs include: excess dribbling or trouble swallowing, vomiting, coughing, choking, and unexplained chest infections.
  • Parents are advised to take their child straight to their local accident and emergency department, while avoiding their children eating, drinking or vomiting, if they are worried their child might have swallowed a button battery.

Parents with concerns about the safety of any toy can contact Warwickshire Trading Standards via the Citizens Consumer Advice Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.