Girardi | Keese

Button batteries are a serious hazard to children

Many California residents probably do not realize that the seemingly harmless remote controls on their coffee tables can serve as a hazard to their children. A new study reports that button batteries, which are commonly used in electronics, are becoming a big problem for kids. These small, circular batteries have led to a significant amount of battery-related emergency room visits over the past few decades. Ultimately, these batteries are transforming safe items into dangerous products.

According to research, which was conducted throughout a 20-year period from 1990 to 2009, there were around 66,000 battery-related emergency visits by children under 18 in the U.S. The emergency cases included incidents where batteries were placed in kids' noses, mouths and ears. However, the most common reason for hospitalization was swallowed batteries.

If one of these batteries is ingested, death can occur within hours. Specifically, the batteries can become lodged in the esophagus, which can burn holes in it and create chronic breathing problems.

Manufacturers of children's products are required to meet certain standards to make certain that batteries cannot be easily removed. Unfortunately these requirements do not exist for all products, which are intended for adults.

Sources say that because electronics are designed to be small, sleek and compact, button batteries are used in many items. Hearing aids, remote controls and calculators are just a few of the items that commonly use small batteries.

A physician suggests that product manufacturers should start to construct all products in a way that is safe for children. The reality is, a child could get a hold of greeting card, flashlight or watch-all of which have these batteries. Without a parent knowing, the child could suddenly swallow the button. Therefore, it is important that manufactures start taking action.

Ultimately, if you have many battery-operated items around your home, be cautions of the potential dangers. Until manufacturers start addressing this issue, it is important to protect your children.

Source: CBS News, "Button batteries blamed for uptick in emergency room visits, study finds," Ryan Jaslow, May 14, 2012

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