The Risk of Button Batteries for Children

Experts in the UK’s leading Children’s Hospitals continue to warn parents over the dangers of button batteries for children. Great Ormond Street Hospital alone has seen a 60% increase in the number of children admitted from across of the UK after accidentally swallowing button batteries over the past year


Button batteries and lithium coin batteries are the small, round batteries found in toys, cards, watches, key fobs, calculators, hearing aids and lots of other everyday objects. They appear to be pretty harmless and you would think they would just pass straight through, and often they do. However, sometimes they get stuck after being swallowed and can cause holes in the child’s oesophagus and windpipe in the space of just a few hours. Damage to this area can affect a child’s ability to eat, drink, swallow or breathe and can even cause death.


Keeping Children Safe

Prevention is better than cure, so follow these top tips to keep children safe.

  • Ensure any products with batteries that are not screwed into place are kept well out of reach
  • Avoid buying products that do not conform to EU safety standards.
  • Keep all spare batteries out of children’s reach and sight, ideally in a high-up, lockable cupboard. Treat them as you would with your medicine box.
  • Avoid toys from markets or temporary shops as they may not conform to safety regulations.
  • Teach older children that button batteries are dangerous and not to play with them or give them to younger brothers and sisters.If you think your child may have swallowed a button battery, act fast:

NHS Patient Safety Alert Dec 2014 – Risk of death and serious harm from delays in recognising and treating ingestion of button batteries

 Written by Sophie McCracken 28th April 2017