Battery-Related Emergency Department Visits by Children Doubles

Those small, round button batteries found in a wide range of electronic gadgets are sending more and more children to the emergency room.

According to a study in the June 2012 issue of “Pediatrics,” the number of emergency department visits by children under age 18 years associated with batteries doubled to roughly 66,000 during the 20-year study period. Children brought to the emergency room had placed batteries in their mouths, ears or noses, but most frequently—especially among children aged five and younger–they had swallowed them.

Swallowing button batteries is dangerous because they can easily lodge in the esophagus and can lead to severe injuries and even death in less than two hours.

Study authors urge child caretakers make sure battery compartments are taped shut.

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