Lithium Coin Battery Safety – Is Your Child At Risk?

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*This is a sponsored post.*

I think most of us moms (and dads, for that matter) of young children find ourselves examining everything around us with certain questions in mind.

Are there small parts that Serenity can snap off and swallow?

Can that thing electrocute her if when she sticks it in her mouth?

If when Serenity tries to climb up that thing, will it fall and crush the life out of her?

If when she eats that houseplant, will it make her tummy hurt, or put her in the hospital?

These kinds of questions go through my head constantly when entering a new environment with my two year old. And they should! The thing about kids is that they have parents for a reason – to keep them alive while they’re figuring out how to not self-destruct.

But…how often do we think about the lithium coin batteries scattered through our lives?

If I’m honest, I have to admit that unless it’s sitting out where I can see it, I don’t give coin batteries much thought. And I should, because they’re not only very real choking hazards – they’re also highly dangerous if swallowed, and can kill you.

duracell

Duracell asked me to share this infographic with you, because the risk of serious injury and even death in young children who swallow these innocuous and commonplace household items is so high. Each year, more than 3,500 cases of lithium coin battery ingestion are reported.* Yet if you’re like me, you didn’t even know that this was an issue until you started reading this post.

I was so shocked to learn that a tiny lithium coin battery – most no larger than a nickle, and many so tiny you have to use tweezers to handle them – can permanently maim or kill my child, that I immediately started reading everything I could find on the subject. Here’s what I found…

  • Even the tiniest coin battery can easily become stuck in a child’s throat, and can cause major burns and damage if swallowed or placed in an ear.
  • Coin battery related injuries and death in children have more than quadrupled.
  • When a lithium coin battery is swallowed, saliva triggers an electrical current that can cause severe burns from the resulting chemical reaction in a child’s throat.
  • The symptoms of a swallowed battery may mimic common childhood complaints, like drooling and coughing, making it difficult to diagnose before it’s too late.
  • And once the battery has begun to burn your child, the damage can continue to spread even after the battery is removed.

The severity of this very real and easily encountered risk to my precious daughter staggered me. I’m thinking through all of the powered devices in my home, and realizing that I honestly have no idea how many of them are powered by coin batteries. I worry about Serenity ingesting random change that falls out of my husband’s pockets at night when he’s getting ready for bed, but the reality is that a penny or dime is nothing compared to a battery. But while I can tell you where all of the coins are in our home, I only know where one coin battery is located.

Common Lithium Coin Battery Locations

  • Remote controls
  • Car key fobs
  • Battery operated candles
  • Bathroom scales
  • Calculators
  • Musical greeting cards
  • Children’s books that make noise
  • Light-up or flashing toys, clothes, jewelry, etc.
  • Kitchen timers
  • Watches
  • Hearing Aids

Speaking of hearing aids, if your kids spend time around anyone who wears them, you need to have a serious heart-to-hear with them about coin battery safety. I remember many times as a young child, encountering tiny coin lithium batteries from my grandfather’s hearing aid. Remember that electrical current that results from a coin battery interacting with saliva? My sister and I used to touch our tongues to those tiny batteries because of the resulting zing! We loved it. And we are both apparently very fortunate.

What To Do If Your Child Ingests A Lithium Coin Battery

  • Call the 24-Hour National Battery Ingestion Hotline ~ 202.625.3333
  • Provide the battery ID number from the packaging or a matching battery, if possible.
  • An immediate x-ray may be required – your Hotline operator will tell you whether your child needs to go to the ER.
  • DO NOT induce vomiting.
  • DO NOT allow your child to eat or drink until an x-ray shows that it’s safe.
  • Watch for fever, vomiting, blood in your child’s stool, or abdominal pain – report any of these immediately.
  • Check every stool until the battery has passed or been removed.

An important thing to note is that some of these coin batteries are so small, children are not the only ones are risk of accidental ingestion. The elderly come in a close second, but anyone can accidentally eat a coin battery if it’s left near medication, small snack food like popcorn and nuts, or even stored in a container originally intended for something else (in an empty pill bottle, for instance). Coin battery safety is imperative no matter how old you are.

Coin Lithium Battery Safety Tips

  • NEVER leave batteries laying out.
  • Store batteries out of sight and reach of children.
  • Recycle used batteries promptly and properly.
  • If you cannot recycle a battery, wrap it securely in tape, and throw it away somewhere inaccessible to children.
  • Store your batteries in a dry and secure location, apart from other items (do not store batteries in the same containers as other things, loose in drawers, or in the refrigerator – it will not make them last longer, and increases the risk of accidental ingestion).
  • If crystals start to form on the outside of any battery, discard it immediately – it has been exposed to to much heat, and is leaking.
  • Check all your devices – know which ones use coin batteries, make sure the covers are firmly closed, and use strong tape to secure any covers that might pop open if the item is dropped.
  • Try to only purchase coin battery operated items that require a screwdriver or other tool to open the battery compartment, or that close with a child-resistant locking mechanism.
  • Always remember that batteries are everywhere, and remain appropriately cautious.

I’m extremely grateful that Duracell contacted me about their new lithium coin battery safety measures, because as a conscientious parent, I want to be fully aware of any potential threat to my child’s well-being, especially the common ones that are easily preventable. And I want YOU to know about them, too! Knowledge is power, and together we can keep our children safe, so that they can live and thrive and enjoy life.

Did You Know That Lithium Coin Batteries Can Be So Dangerous??

What’s your favorite safety tip?

Disclosure: I will receive a gift card from Duracell as a thank you for writing this post, and sharing the above infographic; additional battery safety information can be found here. Credit for the video and the “3,500 ingestion cases” statistic go to The Battery Controlled. Additional info and safety tips can be found from the National Capital Poison Center. All opinions are my own; I am not a medical professional, and none of the advice included in this post is intended to replace professional medical advice. To learn more about my policies, check out my Disclosure.

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