What are the risks of swallowing a button battery?
Where to find button batteries?
Consumer batteries are essential to our day-to-day lives. We use a wide variety of batteries in different sizes and shapes to power the many appliances we use.
Two particular types of batteries are the button and coin cells. These batteries have the shape of a button or coin and are available in different sizes and voltages.
These batteries are specially designed for smaller appliances such as hearing aids, toys, musical cards, watches, fidget spinners with LED lights and small medical devices.
Garage - door opener
Greeting card with sound
What can happen if a child swallows a button battery?
Since these batteries are very small, there is a risk that children unintentionally swallow them.
In most cases, the button battery will just pass through the body naturally without causing any harm.
However, it is possible that button battery, when swallowed, stays stuck in the food pipe. This can be very dangerous and, at worst, even fatal.
Lithium coin cells have a larger diameter (16-25mm) and higher electrical output (3-volt) which leads to higher risk since they are more likely to become stuck in a child’s oesophagus, if ingested.
What happens in case of an ingestion?
Besides being swallowed, button batteries can also be inserted in body orifices such as ears and noses, damaging delicate tissues and causing serious injuries if undetected for some time.
If a Lithium coin cell gets stuck, it can generate an electric current between the battery and the tissue fluids in the food pipe. This leads to serious internal burns, which can result in chronic health problems or death unless there is rapid medical intervention.
Such situations require urgent medical attention to immediately remove the battery.