Worried Mom Shares Photos of Devastation Swallowed Battery Can Cause to Children

May 29, 2019 Updated: May 29, 2019

A worried mother has shared a series of powerful photographs to warn parents of the havoc a swallowed battery can wreak on their child’s insides.

Sarah Hunstead, founder of CPR Kids, posted the graphic pictures on the organization’s Facebook page as a somber warning.

Hunstead left a button battery on a chicken fillet to illustrate how quickly it sears the flesh. She described the effect at several intervals.

Her photographs show how quickly a swallowed battery can char a child’s delicate skin.

Speaking to the Mail Online, Hunstead said: “[This is to show] just how corrosive button batteries are. The first was taken just 30 minutes after exposure … the second after only four hours.

“It really demonstrates how much damage it can cause when a child swallows a button battery—this is why it is deemed a medical emergency.

“Most importantly, know how to help your child in an emergency—don’t put it off any longer!”

Dozens of parents reacted to the graphic photos, some sharing their own often terrifying experiences.

One parent wrote, “My son swallowed one when he was three, [it was] the size of a 10c coin.”

Another parent wrote: “The coin stayed in him the next day until we got sent to the children’s hospital. It had burnt his stomach lining and his esophagus went through hell. Now mothers, I don’t leave any batteries in the house.”

A third parent wrote, “I don’t understand why they haven’t stopped button batteries being put in children’s toys.”

According to The Battery Controlled website, when a lithium button battery gets stuck in a child’s throat “the saliva triggers an electrical current,” resulting in a chemical reaction that can cause severe burns.

The site warns, “If this has happened to your child, they will likely start coughing, drooling or complain about discomfort.”

“To keep your children safe, look in your home for any items that may contain coin-sized button batteries. Place devices out of sight and out of reach of small children.

“Keep loose or spare batteries locked away.”

The site says children under four are at the greatest risk.

Warning After Child Is Killed by Button Battery

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) is another organization that is raising the alarm on button batteries in households with children after a child swallowed one last year and died.

“These batteries pose a very real risk to small children and babies,” said HSIB’s medical director, Dr. Kevin Stewart, according to the Daily Mail. “The consequences of swallowing a button battery can be truly devastating.”

The new warning comes after health investigators reviewed the case of a young child that died after swallowing a button battery, the type often found in remote controls and toys.

The safety body said that as soon as the battery comes into contact with a wet surface, such as in the throat, nose, or ear, it begins to pose a health hazard.

Contact with a moist surface causes the battery to start to discharge its current and begin a chemical reaction, which can cause surrounding body tissue to suffer significant damage.

Serious internal burns can occur, resulting in long-term problems with breathing and swallowing, and in extreme cases, these chemical burns can even cause death.

“It’s important that everybody knows that these batteries can be found everywhere, from toys to gadgets such as remote controls, digital scales, and car fobs,” Dr. Stewart said, according to the report.

“The best way to protect children is to place everything securely out of reach and double check that all toys have screws to secure any batteries.”

I Didn’t Listen To My Instincts

George Asan, a father whose toddler Francesca died after swallowing a button battery, said in an interview with the Child Accident Prevention Trust, “I feel guilty because in that period of time I didn’t listen to my instincts.”

Francesca Asan died in May 2016 after swallowing the item.

“It was a button battery,” said Asan, who learned later from doctors what killed his daughter. “I went to the cabinet drawer, where I knew that we have the 3-D glasses for the TV. It was one of the spare batteries.”

Seek Medical Help

Dr. Rachel Rowlands of Leicester Royal Infirmary said the batteries can cause fatal injuries even if they do not have enough charge to power a device, according to the Metro.

“Parents or carers should bring their child to the nearest emergency department immediately if they think a child has swallowed or inserted a button battery,” she said.

Katrina Phillips, chief executive of the Child Accident Prevention Trust, told the Daily Mail: “We’re concerned that small children put everything in their mouths, with potentially lethal consequences.

“We’re encouraging families to keep potentially dangerous products out of reach of babies, toddlers, and small children, and to be equally careful about where they store spare and used batteries.”

The Child Accident Prevention Trust has published guidelines on protecting children from the hazards of button batteries:

Keep all spare batteries in a sealed container out of children’s reach and sight, ideally in a high-up, lockable cupboard.

Keep products with batteries well out of reach if the battery compartment isn’t secured.

Put ‘flat’ or ‘dead’ batteries out of reach straight away and recycle them safely.

Avoid toys from markets, discount stores, or temporary shops as they may not conform to safety regulations, and take care when buying online or from overseas.

Teach older children that button batteries are dangerous and not to play with them or give them to younger brothers and sisters.

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