The Lurking Danger of Lithium Batteries

Julie Ryan Evans

Girl with remote control
Photo by TwimMommy320
It always amazes me how toddlers who refuse to even taste a tiny bit of something nutritious and delicious are eager to stick non-edible objects in their mouths. But eager they are, and one extremely dangerous item lurking in your home is the lithium battery.

According to two recent studies, the number of incidents of children swallowing lithium batteries is on the rise -- there's been a 6.7 fold increase between 1985 and 2009, and 13 children have died as a result.

Lithium batteries power many items in our homes -- from television remotes to toys. They're often round and just about the size of a piece of candy -- easy for toddlers to swallow unbeknownst to adults.

In addition to posing a choking hazard, researchers say if batteries aren't removed within just two hours of ingestion, serious injury can result including "tears, burning, and internal bleeding."

"It's really a tight timeline, because a lot of these cases aren't witnessed," Dr. Toby Litovitz told The New York Times. "Children present with symptoms that are nonspecific, the parent doesn't know the battery was ingested -- that makes it difficult for the doctor to diagnose."

Researchers said that while in some cases children find the batteries lying around loose, most of the time children actually remove the battery from a device -- meaning it's often not too difficult to do so.

My children gave me a card recently that plays "Who Let the Dogs Out," and my daughter has been carrying it around all week. I never even considered that she could remove the lithium battery from it, and I know there are plenty of other items in my house I need to check. Scary stuff and another reason I need to clean all the nooks and crannies of my house more regularly.

Did you know how dangerous lithium batteries can be?

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