Posted: Feb 21, 2014 9:00 AM
 
Do you have a remote for your car? Remote controls in your home? Hearing aids? Watches? Your child is in very real danger if you do not guard these items safely, since many contain button batteries. If swallowed, stuck in an ear or a nose, your child only has a couple of hours before permanent, even deadly, damage is done.

We cover the outlets. We pad the corners. We put in life-saving crib bumpers, then we take those death traps back out. We read the car seat manual, lock away the household cleaners, anchor the furniture, and cut hot dogs into a million pieces. We take so much into consideration when we baby proof our homes and lives. But there's one more danger I'd like you to consider, as it's a doozie. If your kid should get her hands on this everyday item, she could die before you even realize she's sick. Yes, let that make you nervous.

Danger everywhere

If you or anyone around your kids reads them a book, steps on a scale, takes a temperature, decorates the tree, opens a birthday card or does some math homework, your child could be at risk.

car remote and key

Button batteries can be found in small remotes, car key fobs, mini remotes that control MP3 speakers, calculators, bathroom scales, reading lights, flameless candles, talking and singing books, singing greeting cards, watches, thermometers, hearing aids, flashing jewelry, ornaments, games and toys... And many of these items come with the batteries already installed, so you might not even be aware of them, according to Emmett’s Fight.

We all know little ones love to explore the world through taste. Even more fun is when they learn how to take things apart. It's a kid's job to learn about their surroundings, but in order for them to be able to do so safely, adults have to create an environment safe for exploring. Button batteries often go unnoticed around the house, but they pose a huge threat to your child’s health — maybe even her life.

Emmett's story

Emmett was about to celebrate his first birthday when he began to display flu-like symptoms. They intensified until his parents finally took him to the doctor. The urgent care physician thought it was either the flu or a reaction to a recent vaccination. But little Emmett got worse. He began to vomit blood. A chest X-ray showed the cause: He had swallowed a button battery, and it was burning a hole in his esophagus. There had been no choking or gagging. No reason to think Emmett had swallowed something dangerous, but he had. Watch this video to see Emmett’s story:

Emmett was very lucky to have survived. Now his parents have set up this website to help educate the public about the dangers of button batteries, and offer support to families who have suffered.

Serious health threat

The website goes on to state that “if a coin lithium button battery gets stuck in a child’s throat, the saliva triggers an electrical current. This causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the esophagus in as little as two hours. Damage can continue even after the battery is removed. Repairing the damage is painful and can require a feeding tube, breathing tubes and multiple surgeries. Spotting the problem is difficult. Children can usually breathe with the battery in their throat.”

In 2010 alone, more than 3,400 swallowing cases were reported in the U.S. Nineteen children sustained life-threatening or debilitating injuries and others died.

And unfortunately, a child swallowing a button battery is far from a rarity. “In 2010 alone, more than 3,400 swallowing cases were reported in the U.S. Nineteen children sustained life-threatening or debilitating injuries and others died.”

As we acquire more electronics over time, and our culture becomes more gadget-reliant, this problem will only worsen. So this is your wake up call. Scour your home and ask the grandparents, aunts and uncles, everyone to do the same. They will find button batteries. Keep these as secure as you would the kitchen knives or toilet bowl cleaner.

Click over to read more of Emmett’s story, and visit SafeKids.org for more on button battery safety.

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Online safety for tweens and teens
When "stranger danger" becomes the danger
Are you a paranoid parent?

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