Button batteries are used in products ranging from toys and games to hearing aids, watches, remote controls and other small electronic devices. Children's products must be equipped with devices that make it difficult to remove batteries, but such regulations do not exist for products targeted at adult users. Because of this, a new study published in the journal
Pediatrics has revealed that there have been about 66,000 battery-related visits to the emergency room in the U.S. since 1990. The most frequent reason for these visits was battery-ingestion, and button batteries accounted for 84% of battery-ingestions in children under the age of 18.
Ingesting a battery presents many more dangers than just chocking; in fact, if ingestion goes unnoticed, it can become deadly in just a few hours. Part of the problem is that a battery can become lodged in the esophagus and, if left there, can burn holes in it. The holes can lead to breathing problems and infections. Ingested batteries have also been shown to trigger bleeding episodes so severe that they resulted in death. Dr. Gary Smith, co-author of the study and head of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital said, "We've seen children in less than two hours have severe, severe injuries from button batteries getting caught in the esophagus."
The study concluded that, in order to see a decrease in battery-related injuries, consumer product manufacturers need to make, "battery compartments inaccessible and child-resistant." Smith emphasized that these safety improvements should be applied to all products, not just those, like toys, that are targeted at children. This is crucial, he suggests, because most battery related illnesses were not caused by batteries from children's products but rather from items like, "remote controls and flashlights."
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends keeping all products that contain button batteries out of reach of children. If you suspect a child has ingested a button battery, visit the emergency room immediately. If you or a loved one has been injured by a button battery that came from a product poorly equipped for safety, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a product injury attorney from Arnold & Itkin today for a free consultation regarding your case.