12 Tips for Keeping Your Toddler Safe From Swallowing a Button Battery

pile of button cell batteries macro

The sad news of Brianna Florer, an Oklahoma toddler who died from ingesting a button battery two days after Christmas, has moms everywhere on high alert. Vomiting and running a mild fever, Brianna had symptoms that escalated over time and left her family aghast. Doctors believe the 2-year-old's body had a reaction to the battery she swallowed -- causing fluids to eat through her carotid artery.


Button batteries, in particular, are both small and shiny, which makes them quite alluring to little kids. Here's what you can do to keep them out of your little one's reach. 

1. Realize it happens more than you think. The CDC estimates over 40,000 children age 13 and under experienced battery-related injuries between 1997 and 2010 alone. 

2. Identify where they are. Many households have electronic devices that contain these coin-shaped batteries. Common items that have button batteries are games and toys, remote controls, calculators, bathroom scales, hearing aids, electronic jewelry, cameras, thermometers, and even holiday ornaments. 

3. Understand the dangers. Kids Health notes the dangers of ingesting button batteries can include choking, trouble swallowing, damage to the digestive track, and other life-threatening situations -- even death. Sometimes, injuries can occur within hours of a child swallowing a battery, and other times, it can take longer, even days.

4. Know the symptoms. Common symptoms of battery ingestion include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, throat soreness and pain, bloody or off-colored stool, coughing, fever, troubles breathing, and a distaste for food or drink. The American Academy of Pediatrics also notes drooling, gagging or choking, and wheezing as signs your child ingested a battery.

5. Keep batteries out of reach and away from small hands. Never leave batteries, of any kind, in reach of children. Kids -- including wandering tots who crawl -- are known for being curious, and will likely be attracted to button batteries. When thinking about household safety, always consider a child's perspective. Note: Those who use hearing devices are advised to keep them out of a child's reach.

6. Secure all devices. The National Capital Poison Control Center recommends parents double-check all household devices with batteries to make sure they're secure. If you can, purchase products that require a screwdriver to open, or have a locking mechanism to keep children safe. You can also use a sturdy fastener (like duct tape) to secure the backs of all devices that have batteries.

More from The Stir: Shocking Facts About Battery Safety Could Save Your Toddler's Life (VIDEO)

7. Get rid of old batteries. Safely recycle or discard all batteries you no longer use. If you aren't able to locate a recycling center, inquire about retailers who will safely dispose of them for you. Examples include Best Buy, the Home Depot, and Walmart.

8. Don't use batteries in front of small children. Replacing or inserting batteries in front of little ones not only can intrigue them, but also lets them know where they're located.

9. Never hesitate to seek medical attention. In the event that your child ingests a battery, immediately dial 911 -- or head to an emergency room. Even if you aren't certain, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

10. Don't make your child throw up. Safe Kids advises parents shouldn't induce vomiting if they fear one of their children has swallowed a battery. It's also recommended not to give kids food or drink until after a doctor has seen them, and they've had an X-ray.

11. Keep safety guides nearby. Parents can refer to resources, like the Button Battery Ingestion Triage and Treatment guideline, for additional help and tips.

12. Call for help. The National Battery Ingestion Hotline is available for parents and caregivers who believe a child has ingested a battery, or placed one in his or her ear or nose. Dial (202) 625-3333 immediately.



Image via Cico/Shutterstock

Read More >