New parents quickly learn the secret to surviving the holiday season: stock up on batteries. While all batteries should be handled with care, we want to share a few safety tips for handling lithium button batteries.
Small, just the size of a button, these batteries are easy to overlook when you child-proof your home. But button batteries are a giant danger. A child can find one and put in their mouth. Without proper medical care, within hours, a child can suffer severe burns to their esophagus.
In 2010, researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia tracked more than 3,400 cases of children who swallowed button batteries. The hospital reports 15 children have died and another 80 children have suffered permanent injuries after ingesting button batteries.
Our tips to protect your children:
- Read product labels before you purchase. You may not realize some toys or products have lithium batteries because you do not have to install them. Likewise, products you may guess have lithium batteries may not. It is essential to read and ask questions.
- Know where lithium button batteries are in your home. You can find them in certain toys and baby monitors, as well as remote controls, garage door openers, car keys and bathroom scales. You may also wear a watch powered by a lithium battery.
- Remove products containing lithium batteries from your home. If you really need these products, at least secure them out of your child’s reach.
- Be suspicious of holiday gifts and trinkets. Holiday cards, electric candles and interactive gifts, such as musical stuffed animals, may have lithium batteries. Stop these products before they come into your home. As for holiday cards, enjoy them and discard them the same day. If you keep them, remove the battery.
- Research your holiday gifts. Go online and search for product recalls involving any toy you wish to purchase. You can visit the CPSC website. Search for both the product you are interested in buying and batteries.
- Warn your family and friends. With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, now is an ideal time to share safety information with your loved ones. Urge family members, friends, grandparents and caregivers to carefully select holiday gifts, make use of toy recall alerts and move products with button batteries out of your child’s reach.
What to do if a child swallows a lithium button battery
If your child ever swallows a button battery, go to the hospital immediately. The sooner a child receives medical attention, the better. A child can suffer a serious internal injury within hours of swallowing a button battery so every second counts.
We hope your child is never injured. But it is critical to understand the symptoms when children swallow button batteries. Parents may not see a child swallow a button battery or may not even know a button battery was in their child’s reach.
These are common symptoms:
- Decreased eating or drinking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Vomiting blood
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Abdominal pain, blood in saliva or stool
If you suspect your child swallowed a button battery, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia advises parents to seek immediate medical treatment and to refrain from giving the child medications, food or anything to drink. Never attempt the Heimlich maneuver either. This can worsen the injury.
About Breakstone, White & Gluck and Our Commitment to Safety
This holiday season, Breakstone, White & Gluck is committed to sharing tips on toy safety. Every toy, every product you buy should be safe to use, but this is not always the case. Because of this, our Boston product liability lawyers want to share tips from our experience to help parents and grandparents make safe buying decisions.
Breakstone, White & Gluck is a top-rated Boston personal injury law firm, with lawyers who have been consistently recognized for excellence over the past 26 years, including by Top 100 New England Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America and Martindale-Hubbell. Our attorneys have also been recognized for starting our Project KidSafe campaign and working to help prevent injuries and deaths by providing safety education to families. To date, we have donated over 25,000 bicycle helmets to children, with a goal of preventing head injuries.
Learn more about Breakstone, White & Gluck: www.bwglaw.com. If you have been injured, our attorneys offer a free legal consultation and can help explain your rights for seeking potential compensation. Call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.
Additional Resources for Parents
We encourage parents to watch these videos.