No Energizer Bunny for Your Child

Button batteries and other battery related injuries can be serious or even fatal to kids

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) You may have lost the remote control for the umpteenth time, but make sure your toddler doesn't find it. And check all the screws on his toys' battery enclosures.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reviewed all the injuries to children related to batteries over the past 15 years.

They found more than 40,000 incidents, including fatal ones.

"Keep batteries safely out of reach."

The study was conducted the staff of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for the CDC, led by Jacqueline Ferrante, PhD, of the Division of Health Sciences at the CDC.

The CPSC gathered data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System for the years 1997 to 2010.

They also sought information for the years 1995 to 2010 from the Injury and Potential Injury Incident File, the Death Certificate Database and the In-Depth Investigation Files.

These are all databases that would have records related to children who have died from exposure to batteries.

They found that 40,400 children under age 13 went to the emergency room for an injury related to batteries, including swallowing them.

Children aged 4 or younger were involved in 72 percent of the cases, and 10 percent of the total cases required the child to be hospitalized.

Only 69 percent of the cases noted what kind of battery were involved in the incident, and a little over half (58 percent) of these involved button batteries.

The types of products where the children got these batteries included toys, flashlights, remote controls, watches, hearing aids and light-up jewelry.

A total of 14 children, aged 7 months to 3 years old, died from a battery-related injury during the 1995 to 2010 study period.

Twelve of these involved button batteries, and the other two did not note what kind of battery was involved.

Four of these children were initially misdiagnosed and released from care, which delayed their treatment.

Three of these children had a fatal hemorrhage up to a week after being seen, and one died a week later from a pierced esophagus and aorta after having swallowed a round, flat battery from a remote control.

"CPSC is urging the electronics industry and battery manufacturers to develop warnings and industry standards to prevent serious injuries and deaths from button batteries," the CDC report stated.

"Additionally, public health and health-care providers can encourage parents to keep button batteries and products containing accessible button batteries (e.g., remote controls) away from young children."

The study was included in the CDC's August 31 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 29, 2012
Last Updated:
September 1, 2012