Battery safety: Button batteries
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Button batteries are shiny, small enough to swallow and can be found in many household items that children can access, such as:
- watches and calculators
- thermometers and scales
- small electronic devices, like:
- key chains
- hearing aids
- remote controls
- reading lights and flameless candles
- musical greeting cards and singing books
- light up or flashing jewellery, clothing and shoes
What to do if your child swallows a button battery
If you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery, seek immediate emergency medical attention. Do not wait for symptoms to develop.
A swallowed button battery can result in significant injury and death. It's important to act quickly if your child has swallowed a button battery.
A button battery can lodge in a child's throat where an electrical current is triggered by saliva. This causes a chemical reaction that can burn through the esophagus in as little as 2 hours.
Health organizations like Ontario Poison Centre and Alberta Health Services advise giving your child honey on the way to the emergency department to reduce the risk of serious injury.
Do not delay getting your child to the nearest hospital.
Follow these safety tips to help keep your child away from button batteries:
- Know the products in your home that contain button batteries.
- Regularly check that button battery compartments are secure.
- Look for products with battery compartments that prevent easy access.
- For example, screw-closed compartments are harder to access than those that simply slide to open.
- Always supervise children when they use products containing button batteries.
- Do not allow children to play with button batteries, or remove them from household products.
- Never store button batteries near food or medicine.
- When replacing button batteries, make sure that used batteries are discarded quickly and properly.
- Even used or expired batteries can cause life-threatening injuries.
- Place pieces of non-conductive tape (packing, scotch or electrical tape) on either side of button batteries after removing them from products and before disposing of them.
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