Posted: Wed 3rd Jan 2024

RoSPA warns of button battery dangers post-christmas

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jan 3rd, 2024

Following the Christmas season, many households find themselves with an influx of new toys and gadgets, many of which contain small but potentially hazardous button batteries.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is taking this opportunity to remind the public, especially parents and caregivers, of the significant dangers these batteries pose.

While toys are required to have secure compartments for button batteries, other common household items like electronic car keys, novelties, and light-up accessories often do not. The UK has witnessed several tragic deaths and injuries in recent years due to button battery ingestion, underscoring the importance of awareness and precaution.

When ingested and in contact with saliva, button batteries can release caustic soda, causing severe internal burns and damage. This reaction can quickly burn through organs, leading to catastrophic internal bleeding. Children are particularly vulnerable due to their smaller digestive tracts, which increases the likelihood of batteries becoming lodged.

Phillip LeShirley, a Product Safety Advisor at RoSPA, stressed the importance of this issue. “The dangers posed by button batteries should not be underestimated,” he said. “Recent strengthening of Standards for Toys is a positive step, but it’s crucial to remember that many everyday items also contain these batteries.”

Symptoms of button battery ingestion can be subtle or mistaken for other illnesses. They may include coughing, gagging, drooling, vomiting, stomach upset, pointing to the throat or stomach, pain in the tummy, chest, or throat, being unusually quiet or clingy, reduced appetite, and difficulty eating solid food.

RoSPA is aware of numerous incidents in the UK, including serious injuries and fatalities. One notable case involved a child who had a battery lodged in her throat for four months, only discovered when she could only eat pureed food. In response to these incidents, recommendations have been made to improve packaging and labelling of batteries and to raise public awareness.

Internationally, the issue is equally concerning, with thousands of incidents reported annually in countries like the USA and Australia.

To protect children, RoSPA advises ensuring that all toys with button batteries have secure, lockable compartments. Be vigilant with items like musical greeting cards and remote controls, which may not have secure compartments. Store spare and used batteries safely and dispose of them correctly.

 

[Photo: /Flickr]

 

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