Dangers of a Button Battery

This Common Household Item Can Silently Kill Your Child Without You Even Knowing!

In this day and age you have people from all walks of life telling you what is good and what is bad for your children! Things like:

  •            Don’t give your child honey before the age of 1
  •            Swaddle your baby.
  •            Don’t spank vs do spank
  •            Don’t let your kids watch TV
  •            Don’t feed your kids Mac & Cheese, Pop Tarts………

There are so many things out there that society easily throws at our feet. Some are accepted and others not so much. There is one thing however that I believe every mother, father, caretaker NEEDS to know and NEEDS to be diligent about.

IT IS THE DANGERS OF BUTTON BATTERIES.

YEP! Those tiny, silver, shiny batteries that range from the size of a pencil eraser to a quarter. They are found in MANY house hold items such as remotes, toys, musical greeting cards, flashlights, penlights, and hearing aids.

Photo May 17, 10 11 48 PM

When these little buggers are swallowed they easily get lodged in the throat. When this happens, the spit in your child’s throat triggers an electric current causing a chemical reaction, which then severely burns the esophagus in as little as 2 hours.

Why is this so important for me to educate people of these little devils?

THIS

This small button battery almost killed my son when he was 2 years old. The battery was in a remote to a portable DVD player. My kids played with it all of the time. It was in a slide out button trey that anyone could open. I had no idea how dangerous these buttons were.

One day as I was folding laundry in my room, my 2 year old little guy came into my room crying. He was pointing inside his mouth. I just figured he bit his tongue and I gave him loves and hugged him. He didn’t stop crying and I noticed he kept gagging and drooling a lot. I asked him if he swallowed something and he nodded his head. At this point I wasn’t too overly concerned. He was breathing and crying which meant it wasn’t in his airway. I asked him what he swallowed. He answered with one word, “Money…” Alright moms…..You know that feeling you get when you know something is wrong but you don’t know why? This was one of those times. I tried to think of anywhere where there was money laying around. With lots of little kids I make sure none of that stuff is where kids could get them. I showed my son different coins and had him point to the one he swallowed. He pointed his little 2 year old finger at the quarter. He was still continuing to cough and drool a lot so I figured it was still stuck in his throat. I got him a glass of water to see if it would help wash it down, but he just continued to cough and cry. This is when MOMMY INSTINCT came full afloat.

I grabbed both of his shoulders and looked him right in the eye and said, “WHAT DID YOU SWALLOW? WHERE DID YOU FIND THE MONEY?” Again he responded with one word. His little voice said, “Remote….”

My oldest son looked at me and said, “Oh no, MOM!” He ran to the other room and came back with the remote. He pulled the slider out and the button battery was gone. I began to panic. Not because I was educated and knew how deadly these things were, but panicking that the battery may leak alkaline inside my child. I quickly called my husband and he called poison control. I got online and was brought to a blog of a little boy named Emmett (More info on him at the end of my post). I skimmed over the blog and quickly learned this little boy had swallowed a button battery, burning a hole through his esophagus and trachea. That’s all I needed to know. I called my neighbor in tears to come watch my boys. I grabbed my boy and started driving to the ER. On my way my husband called on a 3-way call with Poison Control. They told me to get my son to the ER as fast as I could. They had called the ER and let them know I was coming. They briefly explained the dangers and the damage it could do and said they will call back for more updates. We got right in and did a chest x-ray.

Photo May 14, 11 45 35 PM

Sure enough. The x-ray showed the battery lodged close to his aorta. The doctors had never experienced this and didn’t have the equipment to remove it. They began making calls to some bigger hospitals. One did not have the equipment needed to get it out and told us to call a hospital specifically for children. They did and everything went crazy after that. The doctor there said, “I don’t care how you do it, but you get that little boy up here fast.” They called in the life flight crew and we made a quick trip over the mountains.

IMG_1653

Lil guy getting loaded up (that look breaks my heart)

IMG_2418

Flying away and the crew taking care of my son

When we landed the doctor talked with me briefly and they took him straight into surgery. I just stood there as they wheeled my son away unsure of what to do.  A nurse led me to the waiting room where everything caught up to me. I was by myself, and I burst into tears. My husband was driving up and my parents were on there way, but at this time I was terrified. I couldn’t do anything but pray. Praying that my little boy, at the mercy of the skill and knowledge of doctors, would be alright. Other parents in the waiting room came and gave me a quick hug. They didn’t ask questions, no words were needed. A hug of understanding and empathy was all it took. Those hugs was an answer to my prayer for comfort and they gave me the needed strength I needed.

My husband arrived followed shortly by my parents. We sat awaiting any news. After about 45 minutes the doctor called me at the waiting room. They had said they inserted a camera down my sons throat and about 14 cm down they began to see burnt tissue. It just got worse the further down they went. He told me they were bringing in another doctor to consult with. They were going to discuss the best thing to do to get the battery out. That was it. That was my update. All I knew was that this tiny battery, something that I thought was harmless, was burning my sons throat.

After 2 very long hours the doctor came out and said, “This is a very expensive battery!”

IMG_1676

IMG_1677

IMG_2464

He sat down and said our son was doing well and was stable.  The battery had caused a circumferential burn, burning 2 cm of his esophagus. At this point there was too much swelling to know for sure the extent of the damage done. He believed there weren’t any holes in his esophagus but with the swelling it was hard to tell. This was good news. He showed us this picture next

2013-07-02 20.26.08 Burn

I could not believe my eyes. I felt horrible in not knowing how dangerous these batteries were. This is after only 5 hours people! It was 5 hours by the time he swallowed it and got it removed. Only 5 hours and this was the damage it had done. Any longer it could have been a completely different outcome. The doc said that they had put a feeding tube in him and that he wouldn’t be able to eat for a couple weeks by mouth.

IMG_1680

Lil man after anesthesia wore off.

IMG_1686

Brothers coming to visit.

IMG_2449

Adorable little man with his tube

Long story short, we were discharged after 3 days in the hospital. Little guy had a feeding tube for 2 and a half weeks, with only liquids for 2 weeks after that. After 3 months we had an esophogram showing the scarring had closed his throat by 50%

IMG_2007

As a result he had his little throat stretched to open it up more. Basically a controlled tear of all of that scar tissue to open up his esophagus. It went well and we are so grateful for the end result. So grateful for the “mother instinct” or promptings I received to find out what he swallowed.

Three years later our little guy is doing great, but others are not so lucky. I have heard of many little kids who have died from swallowing these batteries, and they weren’t discovered until it was too late. These kids start showing flu like symptoms, and after a day or two they start throwing up blood. At this point it has burned through major blood vessels and it is too late to save them. These batteries are no longer allowed in our home. Any toy with them are thrown away. Remotes are super glued, taped shut and always placed up high way from kids. Educate yourselves mamas!! Share with your friends the dangers of these batteries. You never know how many lives you may save.

Poison Control also featured our story in their annual report to provide awareness to others about the dangers of button batteries. They were very concerned and called us multiple times through out the 3 months of recovery. We sent them the battery, so tests could be done on it. They were great in every way to provide support and information we needed.

To learn more of Emmett (the little boys blog I found when I was looking online about the button batteries) then go to Emmettsfight.com. His story is inspirational and educational. He is doing really well now and is able to eat after years and years of a feeding tubes and surgeries on his esophagus.

Check out this link below as well to see the update on a pending patent on coating to make button batteries safer.

Patent Pending on coating to make button batteries safer

11 comments

  1. Teresa 18 June, 2016 at 20:56 Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this vitally important information! It is something that parents and grandparents as well need to be aware of. I am so thankful that your son is okay.

    • Marcy 19 June, 2016 at 21:36 Reply

      Teresa! Thank you for you comment! Our son is doing so great, and feel so blessed that he is doing so well! Thanks again

  2. Gina 29 June, 2016 at 08:27 Reply

    I had no idea those batteries were so dangerous! That is terrifying! I can only imagine the horror and terrifying hours you spent waiting at that hospital. Thank goodness your little guy turned out alright in the end. I don’t have kids right now, but will in the future. I won’t forget this post and will make sure to keep those batteries well out of reach.

  3. Lauren 16 August, 2016 at 16:49 Reply

    Wow! Your post brought me to tears! Thank you for sharing your story, we need to bring more awareness to this! I will certainly share the post.

    So incredibly thankful that your little guy is okay!! You have a beautiful family! 🙂

  4. Anna Martin 17 October, 2016 at 23:35 Reply

    I have cried my eyes out to your story!! Even though your precious son was saved it still tore at my heart strings. I have an 18 month old little boy and couldn’t imagine going through this! My son is always grabbing our remotes throughout the house and trying to open the battery part!! I would always scald him and move the remote higher up but during busy days all mom’s know you get sidetracked and lay things down accidentally which is sometimes in reach of your babies! Anyways let’s just say after I read your post on PINTEREST my mother and me duck taped all of the remotes and all things related to this post!! Plus everyone I knew with a child small and old got a tag oj my FB post .Thank you so much for this info GOD BLESS YOU

    • Marcy 18 October, 2016 at 14:10 Reply

      Anna
      Thank you so much for your comment! It made me so happy knowing you are helping to get the word out about those button batteries! You are a great mother! Thank you so much!

  5. Sara 14 March, 2017 at 21:37 Reply

    Thank for this great useful information……I had never heard about these drastic effects of these small batteries

Leave a reply