Button batteries are small, coin-shaped batteries found in watches, toys, remote
controls, calculators, and other small electronic devices. These shiny batteries can attract infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, who easily
can put them in their mouths or ears or up their noses.
A swallowed button battery can get stuck in the throat
(esophagus) and cause choking or interfere with swallowing solid foods. It also can
travel through the digestive tract —
or get stuck somewhere along the way — and cause serious and life-threatening
injuries in just 2–3 hours.
If you have young children in your home, it's important to keep all batteries out
of reach and to know what to do if a child swallows one. These guidelines can help.
Safe Battery Storage & Use
Store all unused batteries out of the sight and reach of children. Recycle or dispose
of used batteries properly. Many communities have battery drop-off bins where you
can take your used batteries.
Check products that use button batteries to see if the battery compartment requires
a screwdriver or other tool to open it. Make sure all battery compartments are securely
closed. Do not give a child any toy in which the battery compartment can be opened
Keep products that use button batteries out of the reach of unsupervised children.
Watch kids carefully whenever they use devices containing batteries.
Signs of a Swallowed Battery
A swallowed button battery that gets stuck in the esophagus can react with saliva
(spit) and cause serious damage in as little as 2 hours.
If you find a toy or device with a battery missing or you suspect your child might
have swallowed a battery, look for these symptoms:
If your child has any signs associated with swallowing a battery, go to an emergency
room immediately. Also go if you think your child swallowed a battery, but you're
not sure or see no symptoms. It's best to err on the side of caution in these cases
and have your child checked out.
Follow these guidelines:
Call 911 or go to the ER immediately.
Do not try to induce vomiting (in other words, don't make your child throw up).
Don't let your child eat or drink.
Tell the doctors that you believe your child swallowed a button battery. An X-ray
can be done to see if the battery is in your child's body.
Understand that if a battery is stuck in your child's body, it has to be removed
to prevent further injury.
If you have young kids in your home, childproof
as much as you can. Get down on your hands and knees in every room of your house to
see things as kids do. Be aware of your child's surroundings and what could be dangerous.
Of course, childproofing shouldn't take the place of parental supervision. Keeping
an eye on kids is the best way to prevent accidents.