BUTTON batteries are used to power a number of things in the home – from toys and key fobs to remote controls.
But as they are a similar size and shape to some sweets, they can be easily swallowed by curious children – and the consequences can be pretty nasty.
These horrific photos, posted on the CPR Kids Facebook page, show what can happen just hours after a child swallows one.
The group’s founder Sarah Hunstead carried out the experiment on chicken fillets to demonstrate the damage just one lithium battery can cause.
She told Kidspot: “I was inspired to do this particular experiment after a trip to the supermarket with my oldest daughter.
Even though I have seen first hand the damage that a button battery can do, I was still shocked at the immediacy of the burns
“We were walking down the baby products aisle – she stopped and picked up a small object off the shelf where the baby toys were – my daughter said ‘MUM! LOOK! a button battery! That is so dangerous!’
“Looking around I saw an opened packet on the shelf that obviously a shopper had left there – did they not understand how incredibly dangerous these items are?
“I decided that we needed to show what damage these batteries can do, so I put some chicken fillets in my trolley and my daughters and I did the time-lapse photos that afternoon.”
To carry out the experiment, Sarah – a paediatric nurse – placed a battery inside a chicken fillet for a total of four hours and monitored the level of damage done during that period.
The first image was taken after 30 minutes showing some noticeable black marks, while the third image was taken after four hours with clear burning to the chicken.
It represents the similar damage that could be caused to your little one’s stomach if they swallowed one.
What to do if you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery
- Take them straight to the A&E department at your local hospital or dial 999 for an ambulance.
- Tell the doctor there that you think your child has swallowed a button battery.
- If you have the battery packaging or the product powered by the battery, take it with you.
- Do not let your child eat or drink.
- Do not make them sick.
- Trust your instincts and act fast.
For more information and advice visit the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) website.
Sarah said: “Even though I have seen first hand the damage that a button battery can do, I was still shocked at the immediacy of the burns.”
According to The Battery Controlled campaign, when a coin-sized lithium button battery gets stuck in a child’s throat, the saliva triggers an electrical current.
This then causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the oesophagus in as little as two hours.
If this has happened to your child, they will likely start coughing, drooling or complain about discomfort.
Sarah hopes that her experiment will help parents visualise the dangers button batteries present.
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She said: “In my career as a paediatric emergency nurse I have cared for children who had swallowed or choked on button batteries.
“A few were lucky because it was witnessed by a parent and they knew to seek immediate emergency help, however, most ended up with horrific injuries, sometimes requiring years of ongoing treatment if they survived.”
She added that prevention is the “best cure” and urged parents to have a scout around the home to get rid of any button batteries that might be lurking around.
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