Button Batteries and Magnets a Danger to Children
While shopping for kids gifts this holiday season, keep this in mind: Toys, watches, light-up jewelry, children's books and greeting cards that make sounds all contain coin-sized button batteries. If swallowed, they can cause serious harm to young children.
Dr. Diane Calello of the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers Medical School said button batteries are one of the most dangerous objects in a child's home. If a kid swallows one, it only takes two to three hours for it to burn a hole in the child's esophagus, which can be fatal.
To date, she said the New Jersey Poison Control Center has referred 10 children to hospital emergency rooms for swallowing magnets and 35 children for swallowing button batteries in 2018.
She also said to be careful when giving a child a gift that contains magnets. Swallowing one magnet is not really a problem, unless it's so large that it gets stuck. But swallowing two magnets can cause them to stick together inside the body, creating a twist or a blockage in the intestines.
Calello advised parents that items that contain button batteries should have a compartment that is screwed shut.
Parents should also be aware of dead button batteries. Calello said they can still be a hazard and need to be disposed of properly.
The best thing to do, said Calello, is to treat button batteries like dangerous medication.