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Button Batteries

What are button batteries?

Why are button batteries dangerous?

What should I do if my child has swallowed a button battery?

 

What are button batteries?

Button batteries are small round batteries such as those found in a hearing aid, calculator, watch, or camera.  Many electronic children’s toys and books contain these batteries as well.  They range in size from 5-20 mm and are generally about 1-3 mm thick.


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Why are button batteries dangerous?

Most swallowed batteries pass through the system without causing harm.  However, when swallowed, button batteries can become lodged or stuck before reaching the stomach and cause burns.  These burns can result in injury within 2 hours and have resulted in serious complications and deaths.  20 mm Lithium cells in particular (such as CR 2032) have been involved in many of the most severe injuries likely due to their higher voltage.  Injuries from swallowed button batteries in children have increased in recent years.

Injury may also result if the button battery is lodged in the nose or ear.


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What should I do if my child has swallowed a button battery?

If your child has swallowed a button battery or one has become lodged in the nose or ear, bring the child to a health care facility for further management.  The health care provider can determine the most appropriate further treatment. 

Do not induce vomiting and do not allow the child to eat or drink until evaluated by a health care provider. 

For more information or advice, you may contact your local Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or the National Button Battery Ingestion Hotline at 1-202-625-3333, both of which are open 24 hours/7 days a week.


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Created by Louise Kao, M.D. These answers are provided by volunteer medical toxicologists for the purpose of public education, and do not necessarily represent the policies or positions of the American College of Medical Toxicology.
 
 
All data and information provided in this FAQ is for informational purposes only. The American College of Medical Toxicology makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of the content of the FAQ and will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use.


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