Alberta parents are being warned about the danger of children swallowing button batteries.
Serious injury, including internal burning and corrosion can result, so these small power cells need to be kept away from kids, states a release from Alberta Health Services.
Several recent cases of young children swallowing button batteries have already been reported in Alberta. Some children have required hospitalization, so AHS also wants parents to be aware of signs a child might have ingested these pill-like batteries.
Button batteries are used to power small electronic devices, watches, cameras, calculators, hearing aids and computer games. Because of their size, children can mistake them for food or candy and swallow them.
A child who ingests a battery could have 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.
Even if a child exhibits no symptoms, injury can still occur — even if the battery is dead or expired.
If you think someone has swallowed a button battery, do not induce vomiting. Take them to an emergency department immediately.
AHS states that serious injury can occur within two hours of the battery being swallowed. It may get stuck in the airway and destroy the tissue in the upper digestive tract. This damage is worse if the battery gets stuck in the esophagus (throat) instead of moving into the stomach.
AHS urges parents: Keep these batteries locked up, out of reach and out of sight of children; check battery compartments of products to ensure they are not easily opened; use the screws provided and tape to seal battery compartments; look for loose batteries on floors, tables, counters and dispose of them safely; and cover both sides of the battery with tape before storing or disposing.