Hidden dangers of button batteries

Hello. Happy Winnie-the-Pooh Day.

January 18th commemorates author A.A. Milne's birthday, in 1882. The author created the honey-loving bear and wrote stories in which Pooh went on adventures with Milne's son, Christopher Robin.


Fewer germs, fewer sick days

UV-C light is an effective sterilizer. The Munchkin Portable lets you take such a sterilizer with you.

Lots of things your kid wants to put in their mouth have recently been somewhere gross. Running it through this means they’re less likely to get sick. Which means you’re less likely to get sick.

Daily Inspiration

“To be in your children's memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.” - Barbara Johnson


Hidden dangers of button batteries

Small “button” and “coin” batteries are increasingly ubiquitous in handheld electronics: toys, headphones, remotes, key fobs, thermometers, watches, and many other things around the house. Consequently, they’re also a growing risk to kids. 

In the US, thousands of children ingest these batteries each year, and the numbers are going up.

Devastating potential effects

There are two types of these batteries, and ingestion of either requires immediate medical attention. Lithium “coin” batteries are the especially dangerous type. When these batteries get wet, like after being swallowed, they start a chemical reaction that can begin to dissolve tissue within an hour and can quickly become life-threatening, especially if stuck in the esophagus.

Not just when swallowed: Batteries getting into the nose, ear, or any other orifice can have severe consequences and require immediate medical attention.

Some signs of an ingested battery

Some children may show no immediate symptoms after ingesting a battery. A battery lodged in the esophagus may cause drooling, difficulty swallowing, voice changes, chest pain, coughing, blood in saliva, and abdominal pain.

Immediate actions for suspected ingestion

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests the following if you suspect battery ingestion:

  • Take your child to the emergency room or call 911. Let doctors and nurses know it might be a lithium coin battery. Typically, an x-ray is taken to see if the battery is lodged in the esophagus. If the battery has moved into the stomach, it can likely be passed on its own. When it is stuck in the esophagus, that is when chemical reactions can occur.

  • Then, offer honey if it's on hand. After calling 911 and while you wait for emergency care, you can give your child 2 teaspoons of honey as long as they are over age 12 months and can swallow liquids. You can give up to 6 doses of honey about 10 minutes apart. It is important not to give your child anything else to eat or drink. If they vomit, do not give another dose of honey. Do not induce vomiting. Do not delay emergency care to look for honey.

  • Watch for fever and other symptoms after going home. After you return home, if your child develops a fever or shows signs of abdominal pain, vomiting or blood in the stools, contact your doctor.

  • If the battery is passing on its own, check your child's stools until the battery has passed.

Preventive measures to safeguard your home

Prevention is key to avoiding accidents with batteries. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Know which items in your home contain button batteries and keep them out of children's reach and sight

  • When possible, avoid toys and household items that use button batteries

  • Try to buy batteries with child-resistant packaging

  • Store batteries in a secure compartment

  • Promptly dispose of old batteries

Action item

  • Do an inventory: Assess where these batteries are present in your home. Can you get them out of sight and out of mind, or secure them better?

  • Talk to your child: Discuss the potential dangers with your child, if they’re old enough to understand.

  • Educate: Tell other family members and caregivers about the risks and what to do if they suspect your child has ingested a battery. 

Stay safe!


Has your child ever ingested something that made you seek medical help?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.


How old was your youngest when you first stayed away from home?

  • 0 - 6 months (26%)

  • 7 - 12 months (19%)

  • 13 - 24 months (44%)

  • 25+ months (11%)

Featured response

The first holidays, family came to us, so we didn’t have to travel early. We were ready for some adventure by that spring though!

Parent Genius subscriber


 Positive thinking: UC Davis Children’s Hospital on the power of “positive parenting.”

 Their perspective: Take a look at a visual exploration of how children’s travel experiences differ from their parents’.

 Something old, something new: In a Pew study, about as many parents say they’re trying to raise their children similar to how they were brought up as say they’re trying to take a different approach. Their reasons differ dramatically.

What'd you think of this issue?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Links to products in this post may generate a commission for Parent Genius as part of Amazon or another retailer’s affiliate program.

Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here.