Tuesday, April 26, 2022
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More children swallowing button batteries prompts warning from AHS

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LETHBRIDGE, AB – Recent incidents in Calgary and Edmonton have prompted a warning from Alberta Health Services here in south about what can happen if a child accidentally swallows a battery.

Several kids have reportedly swallowed small button batteries, like the ones used to power a watch, and some have ended up in hospital.

South Zone Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vivien Suttorp says all batteries can be hazardous.

“I’ve seen a child with a button battery up in the nose that caused corrosion and a very, very serious nasal infection. So batteries in general, new batteries or old batteries, are a risk to children.” – Dr. Vivien Suttorp, South Zone Medical Officer of Health

If swallowed, serious burning to the throat or upper digestive tract can occur within two hours even if the battery is expired.

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After swallowing a button battery, a child might have one or more of these symptoms: trouble breathing; wheezing and/or drooling; coughing and gagging when eating; trouble swallowing; chest pain; belly pain; nausea and/or vomiting; loss of appetite; and fever.

If your child does swallow a battery, do not induce vomiting and take them to the ER right away.

AHS says preventing a child from ingesting batteries is the best way to avoid serious injury:

  • Keep batteries locked up, out of reach and out of sight of children.
  • Check battery compartments of household products are secure and not easily opened.
  • Use the screws provided and tape to seal battery compartments.
  • Buy household products with secure battery compartments that cannot be easily opened by children.
  • Supervise children when they use products containing button batteries.
  • Look for loose batteries on floors, tables, counters and dispose of them safely.
  • Store or dispose of batteries in a secure place so children cannot gain access to them.
  • Cover both sides of the battery with tape before storing or disposing.
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