Toddler Fights for Life After Swallowing Battery

batteryOh moms, here's one more thing to worry about: those teeny, tiny, lithium batteries -- or, as most of us call them, "button batteries." Since they're the size of a coin (sometimes even smaller), your toddler could easily swallow one. They're a choking hazard, no doubt. But unlike buttons, they can wreak havoc in your little one's body after they've been swallowed.

Emmett Rauch is a Phoenix 2-year-old who swallowed a button battery. After 18 surgeries, he's still fighting for his life. His doctors suspect the battery may have spent three days in his stomach. This is one of those stories that should have us scouring our homes for this baby-proofing blind spot. Do you know where all your button batteries are?


Lithium batteries are more dangerous than AA batteries because they have less casing -- not that it's a good idea to swallow AA batteries, either. But that means they dissolve more quickly, releasing their toxins. Check out this scary Consumer Reports video that shows what happens when a button battery is placed between slices of ham. Now picture that battery in your child's stomach.

Here's the other thing -- Emmett's parents say he started out with cold symptoms. So if (horror of horrors) your toddler does swallow a button battery, you're not even going to know until much of the harm has been done. How many colds did my son have by the time he was 3? I can't even count. I would never have known the symptoms of a swallowed battery.

What scares me about button batteries is how they're in just about everything, it seems. Countless objects come into my life with those batteries inside them, and I don't even notice until they stop working. Usually it's hard to get one of those batteries out to change them. They're secured by tiny screws. But some of them come in freaking paper greeting cards! That people send! To your toddler! Can we please stop making these now?

Check your remote controls (all 1,000 of them). Check your watches. Check your toddler's toys -- although all toys are required to have their batteries secured. Definitely check every card your family receives this holiday season. If it sings or shines, you may want to get rid of the battery immediately. Aunt Myrtle will forgive you for damaging her card. You'll never forgive yourself if your toddler swallows that battery. 

Did you know lithium batteries could be so dangerous? Have you checked for them as part of your baby-proofing?


Image via oskay/Flickr

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