Batteries

There are two types of batteries. One kind is long and skinny like AA or C. Many flashlights and toys use that kind. The other kind of battery is round, flat, and looks like a silver button. Button batteries are in watches, key fobs, thermometers, singing cards, and many other items in your home.

Button batteries can look like a piece of candy or gum to young children. If one is swallowed, it can cause serious harm. The battery can get stuck in the child’s throat and lead to burns or choking. A few changes in your home can help keep children safer.

Battery Injury Facts

  • Every 90 minutes a child is treated in a U.S. emergency department for an injury from a battery.
  • The majority of cases involve batteries from products not intended for use by young children, such as watches, calculators, flashlights, and remote controls.
  • Button batteries account for most battery-related emergency room visits.
  • As the number of products using button batteries has increased, the number of injuries to children from these products has also gone up.
  • Because newer lithium button batteries have higher voltage, the time it takes for an injury to occur has decreased. With the new voltage, it can take fewer than 2 hours for a serious or even fatal injury.

Battery Safety Tips

  • Store all batteries out of sight and reach of children, preferably in a locked cabinet or container.
  • Do not allow children to play with new or used batteries.
  • Buy products with a secure battery compartment that requires a tool (often a screwdriver) to open. Check these compartments often to make sure they stay secure over time.
  • When replacing batteries, immediately throw away old batteries in a trash can that children cannot access or put batteries for recycling out of sight and reach.
  • Check other homes your children visit for possible access to button batteries: grandparents, family members, caregivers, and friends.
  • Find medical attention right away if you think your child swallowed a battery. Injuries and death can occur in less than two hours. An x-ray can show if a battery is stuck in the throat.

Additional Battery Resources:

Pediatric battery-related emergency department visits in the United States, 1990-2009