especially coin-sized button batteries, can be found in most U.S. homes in
electronic games, remote controls, watches and other common devices. Small,
shiny and appealing to children, button batteries can cause serious injuries if
ingested, according to a study in the June 2012 issue of Pediatrics (published online May 14), “Pediatric Battery-Related Emergency Department Visits in the United States, 1990-2009.”
There were roughly 66,000 emergency department visits by children under age 18
years associated with batteries during the 20-year study period. Children sought
emergency evaluation for batteries placed in the mouth, ear or nose, but most
frequently by batteries that were swallowed, especially among children aged
years or younger.
Button batteries accounted for 84 percent of all battery-related ingestions
among children younger than 18 years of age. The number of emergency visits for
button battery ingestion doubled during the study period. Ingestion of button
batteries is dangerous because these smaller batteries can lodge easily in the
esophagus and can lead to severe injuries and even death in less than two hours.
Because the number of battery-related emergency department visits is increasing,
study authors recommend that prevention efforts be increased, and should focus
on younger children. Child caregivers should make sure that the battery
compartments of all electronic items are taped shut and loose batteries are
always stored out of children’s
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of
60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and
pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and
well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more
information, visit www.aap.org.