A WARNING has been issued to parents about the dangers of button batteries being swallowed by young children.
The advice has been offered by the Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Partnership after the number of serious injuries and deaths caused by button batteries being swallowed or placed in the nose or ears by children has increased over the past ten years.
The incidents have risen because batteries are being used in an increasing number of items, including watches, remote controls, toys, kitchen scales, thermometers, musical greeting cards and other new products.
If swallowed the batteries react with saliva to cause internal bleeding or choking which in the worst cases can be fatal.
Parents should be aware of the symptoms of their child having swallowed a battery such as drooling, coughing, loss of appetite, nausea or pointing to their stomach or throat. Where a parent suspects a child may have swallowed one of these batteries the child should be taken to hospital immediately.
As the saliva in their body will react with the battery, time is very much of the essence.
Steve Eccleston, Chair of Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Partnership said: “If you think your child has swallowed a button battery do not delay in seeking medical help but take them straight to your nearest A&E department or call an ambulance.”
Parents and carers are urged to take steps to keep their children safe from button batteries, including being aware of items in and around the home which use the batteries, taking care when buying toys and try and, where possible, choose items with lockable battery compartments.
Spare batteries should be locked away safely and products using button batteries should be kept out of children’s reach.
Visit www.capt.org.uk/button-battery-safety for more information from the Child Accident Prevention Trust.
The NHS has also produced a National Patient Safety Alert on risk of harm to babies and children from coin/button batteries in hearing aids and other hearing devices.
Go to safeguardingworcestershire.org.uk/wscb/ for more on the advice from the Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Partnership.