Small Batteries Can Be Big Hazard to Young Children

How many button batteries are in your home? After counting remotes, key fobs and toys, don’t forget the ones in thermometers, scales, and even singing greeting cards. Small batteries are everywhere, and that can spell danger for children.

According to data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, from 2010 to 2019 there was an average of one battery-related pediatric visit to the emergency department every 1.25 hours, up from one every 2.66 hours in the previous decade. The majority were children under 5, who swallow batteries or put them in their nose or ears.

Reese’s Law, enacted this summer,  will require that devices with button batteries carry a warning label to keep the batteries out of children’s reach and ensure they have child-resistant battery compartments. But adult awareness and supervision are still the best way to protect children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:

  • Check which electronic devices contain button batteries, and keep them out of children’s reach.
  • As with matches and lighters, keep all batteries locked and out of sight of young children.
  • Promptly recycle dead batteries or put them outside in a garbage can.
  • If you think your child might have swallowed a battery, or put it in their nose or ears, don’t hesitate.  Call poison control and head to the emergency department immediately.