Take a quick look around your home. How many items are powered by batteries? Of these, how many contain small, disc-shaped batteries? These “button batteries” lurk nearly everywhere — and they could be turning your home into a dangerous environment.
Many parents are just now becoming aware of the danger small batteries can pose for children. Toddlers, in particular, are at risk any time they play with toys that contain button cells. The urgency of the issue can be seen in the formation of a national Button Battery Task Force. Since then, manufacturers have stepped up their game by implementing higher standards for securing battery compartments. Despite all this, injuries tied to button batteries remain shockingly common.
Button batteries aren’t going away anytime soon, nor are they likely to be any safer for the time being. As such, parents either need to remove products powered by these batteries from their lives, or, more realistically, learn how to operate them safely. Below, we delve into these dangers while explaining what can be done to keep vulnerable children safe — and when help from a DC product liability attorney may be necessary.
Today’s electronic devices are smaller and more stylish than ever. This sleek aesthetic is made possible, in part, by the diminutive button batteries that power many products. Also known as lithium coin batteries or button cells, these single-cell batteries are notoriously small. Most measure somewhere between 5 and 20 millimeters in diameter.
These days, button batteries can be found not only in the most popular devices, but also, in a surprising variety of toys. Typically, if a toy is small and doesn’t need to be plugged in, it contains a button battery. Increasingly, these are also found in household items such as remote controls and car keys.
All batteries have the potential to be dangerous when children are involved, but the button version is unique: their size means that they can easily be ingested by curious children. Babies and toddlers learn by tasting items, and, the older they get, the more capable they are of removing and consuming small parts. Button batteries are particularly attractive to toddlers, who find their shiny appearance compelling.
The increased likelihood of ingestion is only the beginning, unfortunately. Once they’ve been swallowed, button batteries become highly corrosive. They are capable of burning holes through the esophagus or other parts of the digestive system. Often, the damage becomes life-threatening in just a few hours.
Like it or not, the takeover of button batteries is likely to continue. While manufacturers should take extra action to make products safe, you, as a parent, will also need to step in. These suggestions should help:
These steps can feel time-consuming, but remember: with button cells, it takes very little to cause long-term suffering or even death. In addition to protecting your children, these efforts will provide powerful peace of mind, especially as your kids spend time outside of your home.
Time is of the essence when you suspect that your child has ingested a battery. Swift action is essential even when you aren’t sure that anything is wrong. First, call the National Battery Ingestion Hotline right away at (202) 625-3333. You can also call poison control at (800) 222-1222.
Recent research suggests that giving your child honey may also help as you await hospital treatment. Once you reach the emergency room, anesthesia will be applied so that doctors can extract the battery with help from an endoscope.
You make every effort to keep your children safe, but what about the manufacturers that produce their favorite toys? If you suspect that negligence has caused your child to suffer, it’s time to take action. Our DC product liability team at Regan Zambri Long PLLC can help you get the justice you deserve. Contact us today to get started with a free case evaluation.Tagged batteries, button batteries, choking hazard, electronics, Product Liability, product safety