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Button batteries present hidden menace at Christmas time

6 December 2019

Cape York, Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area parents should watch out for button batteries this Christmas as they can be fatal to children if swallowed or inserted, health authorities warn.

“So many products and devices in our homes contain button batteries, from digital kitchen and bathroom scales to key fobs, remote controls, calculators, toys, festive ornaments and musical greeting cards, Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service Executive Director of Medical Services Dr Tony Brown said..

“They present not just a choking hazard, but if swallowed or inserted in the nose or ear, the battery charge can cause an internal caustic injury.’’

Dr Brown said parents should keep a close eye on products with button batteries and ensure they are secured.

“New button batteries need to be kept out of reach and locked away just as you would with poison or medications,’’ he said.

“Old batteries need to be disposed of carefully as they may still have enough of a charge to generate an electrical current if swallowed.

“If a child swallows a battery, symptoms may mimic common childhood illnesses, with drooling, vomiting or coughing the most common.

“The child may also have chest pain, abdominal pain and diarrhoea and may refuse hard food, or have a fever.’’

Dr Brown said if parents thought their child had swallowed or inserted a button battery, the should call the state-wide poisons information call line on 13 11 26 and seek medical help immediately.

For more information about button batteries, read Button batteries danger young kids emergency

Last updated: 11 December 2019