Button battery injuries in children increased by 93% in the first seven months of the pandemic
While visits to the emergency room for product-related injuries generally decreased during the first seven months of pandemic, those involving children Batteries saw a 93% increase. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report Published in January reporting the spike in children ages 5 to 9, it said that while most injuries were related to ingestion, some involved foreign body problems, such as when a battery was stuffed into the ear or nose.
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which has a button battery task force, estimates that there are more than 2,500 button battery injuries in children each year. Batteries can be found in remote controls, flameless candles, bathroom scales and other household appliances such as luminous sneakers, watches, and calculators.
They can cause severe tissue burns in less than two hours and lead to lifelong injuries. If a child is suspected of swallowing a button battery or putting one in their nose or ear, immediate emergency care is recommended. The AAP also recommends calling the National Battery Swallowing Hotline for help at 1-800-498-8666.
Signs that a child has swallowed a battery can include wheezing, drooling, abdominal or chest pain, coughing, gagging, or choking.
In addition to the dramatic spike seen during the early months of the pandemic, the AAP reports that more than four times as many children suffered serious injury or death in the five years between 2006 and 2010 than in the previous five years.
The American Academy warned that “the most serious injuries are usually associated with batteries of 20 mm in diameter, the size of a nickel, because they are likely to lodge in the esophagus of a young child.” “If a metal-cell lithium battery lodges in the esophagus, it can cause tissue injury and necrosis within hours, leading to perforation or death if not removed urgently.”
The CPSC also found a sharp rise in infections related to cleaning agents, which it said was “likely because consumers stayed home and did the more household cleaning, the more infections.”
The center stated that “these injuries are from bags of washing liquid, which continue to pose a serious risk to both young children in case of ingestion, and – increasingly – to the elderly, who suffer eye injuries.”