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Button batteries – do you know the dangers?

Sarah Hunstead

Sarah Hunstead

Sarah Hunstead started CPR Kids because as a paediatric nurse knows that what a parent or carer does to help their sick or injured child in the minutes before an ambulance arrives, can directly impact the health outcome of their child. Sarah realised that a little knowledge, and confidence to act, could make all the difference. So Sarah set out to empower every adult to be...
Created on Oct 18, 2023 · 1 min read

“Inside the battery compartment of mini remote controls, small calculators, watches, remote keyless entry, flameless candles, singing greeting cards and other electronics, maybe a very powerful coin-sized button battery. When swallowed, these batteries can get stuck in the throat and cause severe burns. Small children often have easy access to these devices, and many parents do not know there is a risk.”


Attached is an image of a button battery left on a piece of bacon for 2 hours.

Button batteries in bacon

Button Batteries are in many household items. From musical birthday cards to remote controls, hearing aids to car keys and children’s toys, you can almost guarantee you will have them in your home.

If a child swallows a button battery, not only is it a choking risk, button (lithium ion) batteries can cause severe burns to the oesophagus, stomach and digestive tract.

In Australia, an estimated 4 children per week present to an emergency department with an injury related to a button battery. Kids under 5 years old represent the greatest risk.

Please make sure that you keep button batteries out of reach, and if you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery, follow the first aid guidelines:

This is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Call 000 – Ambulance. Tell the operator that it might be a coin-sized button battery. At the hospital, if possible, provide the medical team with the identification number found on the battery’s pack. Do not let the child eat or drink until an X-ray can determine if a battery is present. Do not induce vomiting.


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