Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 12:31
Swallowing a button battery can be fatal: Pediatricians
Parents often don't realize how dangerous it can be if their child swallows a button battery. There are an increasing number of cases of such a battery burning a whole in the esophagus. This can lead to permanent injury, and in one case even death. The Netherlands Pediatric Association warns about this danger on the website of the magazine Medisch Contact. According to pediatricians Margot Smit and Angelika Kndermann, a battery that is stuck in the esophagus can lead to necrosis. That is caused by the battery's current and chemicals that leak from it. Serious damage can be done within two hours. "The aim is therefore to remove the battery as soon as possible, preferably within one hour", say the doctors. A child who has swallowed a battery must be taken directly to the emergency room for an X-ray. If the battery is in the esophagus, the child should be rushed to a pediatric gastroenterologist so that the battery can be removed with an endoscopy. "Every minute counts." Smit and Kindermann note that the number of incidents involving swallowed button batteries has increased significantly in their practices during the last four years. The pediatricians suspect that this is because children more often play with things that are not meant as toys, such as remote controls, cameras or calculators. These devices don't have child-safe closures, so the batteries can easily be removed.