Advice for parents to limit the risk of button battery ingestion
Most incidents with children take place at home. In an age of accelerating development and miniaturisation of electronic devices, button batteries are increasingly accessible to young children. Button batteries power many consumer goods as well as a growing number of children’s toys. Even when parents know about the dangers, the abundance of button batteries in most homes, makes creating a safe environment for children very challenging in today’s high tech world.
The shiny surface of the battery can be very appealing for a child who is exploring the nearby environment.
Often button batteries/coin cells are not visible to parents or users as they come integrated into various devices.
Practical tips to limit the risks of ingestion by children:
- Look around in your house and identify which toys and gadgets use button batteries
- Do not leave discarded button batteries laying around loose in the house. Always store them out of sight and reach of young children
- Pay attention to the labelling and instructions of the toy/appliance you purchase
- Look out for the safety pictogram 'keep out of reach of children' ISO 7010, safety sign M055
- Try to opt for toys with a CE marking with a secured battery compartment
- Make sure that you securely fasten the battery compartment after replacing the button batteries of a product
- Do not store small batteries in pill boxes or place them together with medication. Their shape and size make them easily mistaken for medication
- Bring waste button batteries to a collection point so they can be recycled. Batteries at the end of life should be disposed of appropriately
What to do when your child has swallowed a button battery:
- Even in case of a suspiction (if you haven't seen the ingestion yourself), seek immediate medical attention at a hospital emergency room.
- If you still have the appliance containing the battery or the original product packaging; please take this with you to help the doctor identify the battery type and chemistry.
- Do not let your child eat or drink until an X-ray can determine if it's indeed a button battery.
- Do not induce vomiting.
- For further advice you can also contact your national anti-poison centre.
Extra tips for prevention
- Purchase button batteries in blister packs: children cannot open them as easily.
- Do not change batteries of appliances/toys in the presence of children.
- Do not allow children to play with button batteries.
- Never put a button battery in your mouth to test or "hold" them.
- Also look carefully at your medication before swallowing.
- Take used button batteries regularly to a collection point.
- Print our factsheet with useful tips and hang it in your house!