Lithium “Button” Batteries – A Lurking Danger | The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Kohl's Injury Prevention Program

Lithium “Button” Batteries – A Lurking Danger

There is an emerging danger hiding in your home — lithium batteries, also known as button batteries — causing injuries and death in children. When swallowed, these small batteries get stuck in the esophagus (throat). The saliva triggers an electric current which causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the esophagus in as little as two hours.

Lithium batteries can be found in everything in your home. They are used to power remote controls, toys, musical greeting cards, calculators, watches and other electronics. Small children often have easy access to these devices, and many parents do not know there is a risk.

Incidents of ingesting button batteries are on the rise

What are the signs that my child has swallowed a button battery?

Sings that your child has swallowed a button battery may include:

The above symptoms can also be mistaken for another diagnosis. Parents or caretakers should know that these batteries can be found anywhere in the home and think of it as a possibility if a child is in distress.

What should I do if I think my child has swallowed a battery?

This is an emergency! Take your child to an Emergency Department, ideally one in a Children’s Hospital, immediately.

Is there anything I should not do if I think my child has swallowed a battery?

How to protect your child from the dangers of button batteries

Keep your child safe by:



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