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More and more household items have button batteries (Picture 1). These items include: remote controls, thermometers, games, toys, hearing aids, calculators, bathroom scales, musical greeting cards, key fobs, electronic jewelry, holiday ornaments, cameras, and candles. As technology advances, so do the items and equipment we use every day – and so do the batteries that power many of these things.
Button batteries are small (Picture 2). They may be the size of a pill or a coin. Since they are small, they are easy to swallow or put in the nose or ear. When a button battery is placed in the body it lets off an electrical current that begins to burn the body. Serious injury can occur in as little as 2 hours. If the injury is very severe major surgery may be necessary. People have died from burns caused by swallowing button batteries.
If your child swallows a button battery, he or she may have the following symptoms:
If your child puts a button battery in his or her nose or ear, look for the following symptoms:
If you think your child has swallowed or put a button battery in his or her nose or ear: GO TO THE NEAREST EMERGENCY ROOM IMMEDIATELY. You can also call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. Do NOT make the person vomit or let him or her eat or drink. Your child will usually get an X-ray to confirm that the battery is in the body. If a battery is stuck in the body, getting it out is the only way to stop further injury.
HH-IV-129 3/12 Copyright 2012, Nationwide Children's Hospital