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Deadly Lithium Button Batteries, Little Kids and What You NEED to Know!

Updated on October 24, 2012
Button Cell Battery
Button Cell Battery | Source

A recent stop at table sponsored by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia made me aware of serious and potentially deadly danger lurking in my home at this very moment – button batteries! Those highly charged lithium button cell batteries that power everything from car key remotes, to flameless candles, calculators, toys, books with sound and the ever popular singing greeting cards and more! These tiny batteries are just the right size for swallowing but contain highly toxic, highly caustic heavy metals and chemicals which become lodged in the esophagus (throat) of small children. As our mouths are constantly coating our throats in a bath of saliva which is made of 98% water. Water of course conducts electricity so it should come as no surprise then that the saliva initiates an electric current with the lodge battery which in turn triggers a chemical reaction that begins to burn the esophagus. Left unchecked, this can cause a serious burn in as little as TWO HOURS!

Here are some statistics that I learned from CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)

  • More than 80 kids nationwide have suffered permanent damage from injuries caused by ingesting button batteries.
  • Fifteen children have died — 11 of them within the last six years.
  • In 2010, more than 3,400 kids swallowed button batteries.


Small children under 4 years are old are the most likely to swallow a button battery or any small object. Try to find devices that have button-cell batteries and be mindful that many come installed with the device when you purchase it. Once you find these items, make sure they are well out of reach any children in the home.

Some items to check include:

  • ear thermometers
  • books that have sound
  • mini remotes
  • flame-free candles
  • watches
  • calculators
  • key fobs / keyless entry devices
  • singing greeting cards (maybe the easiest to get to and most tempting)
  • hearing aids

Button Cell Batteries
Button Cell Batteries | Source


Should your child swallow a battery or you suspect they have, do the following:

  • Go to the emergency room immediately. Tell doctors and nurses that it might be a coin-sized button battery.
  • If possible, provide the medical team with the identification number found on the battery’s package.
  • Do not let the child eat or drink until an X-ray can determine if a battery is present.
  • Do not induce vomiting.


These small button cell batteries are found in everything from Please share this important info with all the parents and caregivers of children that you know. While prevention is key, the next most crucial step is getting appropriate emergency attention for the child. This information really could save a life.


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    • My2GreenBeans profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Tennessee

      Thank you. I was certainly something I was previously unaware of. I can't think of how many times I handed my toddler my keys to play with in a store or the time I let him play with his singing birthday card, not realizing he could just rip open the paper and accidentally swallow the battery. I am glad I found this out before it was too late!

    • vegaswriter profile image


      7 years ago from Las Vegas

      Great hub. Another one of things you didn't know you need to know. UP


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