The danger of button batteries

They are present in pieces you employ each day: Your TV far flung, musical greeting playing cards, the keep an eye on to your fan, your automobile’s keyless far flung, or even a few of your youngsters’ toys. Button batteries come in several sizes, and tragically, hospitals are seeing increasingly more small children rushed into the Emergency Room after unintentionally swallowing one among them.

According to Safe Kids, greater than 2,800 kids are handled in emergency rooms after swallowing button batteries annually – that’s one baby each 3 hours.

Local circle of relatives’s nightmare

It’s painful, extraordinarily unhealthy, and can also be life-threatening for youngsters who ingest lithium batteries. One native circle of relatives discovered that out when their child lady were given her palms on one. It popped out of a TV far flung when 10-month-old Ava Kate used to be taking part in with it. Her grandmother, Billie Jo Burr, says it despatched the circle of relatives on a adventure of over 18 months, with their little lady present process roughly 40 operations.


“She almost died a handful of times throughout all of that process.”

Ava Kate needed to go through roughly 40 operations at 10-months-old after swallowing a lithium button battery. (WJXT)

A nickel-size battery were given caught in her granddaughter’s throat. She used to be rushed to the clinic. Burr says the battery remained lodged in Ava Kate’s esophagus for a complete of about 4 hours and says the battery started “cooking” into her tissue. Surgeons needed to dig it out.

“What we didn’t know at the time ourselves, was that the button battery will start eating through the wall of the esophagus immediately. The saliva completes the electrical circuit.”

The x-rays of Ava Kate’s throat display the place the button battery were given caught after she unintentionally swallowed it as a 10-month-old. (WJXT)

We sought after to look it for ourselves: We positioned a button battery on a uncooked hen breast and left it there for 4 hours, the similar period of time the battery used to be trapped in Ava Kate’s throat.

News4JAX anchor Mary Baer demonstrates how unhealthy button batteries can also be if unintentionally ingested by means of a baby.

What we discovered used to be chilling: Almost right away, the battery started effervescent and consuming away on the uncooked hen, leaving a charred ‘scar’ in the back of. Burr says the battery got rid of from Ava Kate’s throat used to be blackened and corroded — And it used to be just the start.


For greater than a yr, the little lady may just simplest drink PediaSure; she couldn’t swallow the rest cast, which supposed the circle of relatives used to be on edge — anxious she would possibly choke at any time.

Burr says dozens of operations had surgeons recreating what the battery burned.

“They took the bad part of the esophagus out that had so much scar tissue that she couldn’t swallow anything — that was just blocking anything from going down. They removed that and they stretched it up and stitched it, and now she has a nice new smooth wall of her esophagus which allows her to eat,” she defined.

Burr says nowadays is a aid as a result of their granddaughter is ready to have a good time her seventh birthday, as a now wholesome and satisfied kindergartner.

Mission to offer protection to kids

Even even though Ava Kate is doing neatly, Burr isn’t resting. She’s now on a challenge to assist offer protection to different kids and households. She discovered about Reese Hamsmith who used to be only one and a part years outdated when she swallowed a button battery.


“(Reese) is no longer with us,” Burr stated. “This has to stop.”

Burr has joined Reese’s grieving mother to check out to assist her go Reese’s Law. The law would be sure that all pieces the usage of button batteries are made child-proof.

Billie Jo Burr talks to News4JAX anchor Mary Baer about Burr’s battle to offer protection to kids from the harmful of lithium “button batteries” which a great deal injured her 10-month-old granddaughter. (WJXT)

Florida Congressman John Rutherford is likely one of the many U.S. lawmakers that Burr has contacted — urging him to assist go Reese’s Law.

The Republican Representative from Jacksonville advised News4JAX, that he used to be surprised when he heard in regards to the hazards of button batteries.

“I had no idea that the battery would literally heat up and cook the inside of their throat,” he stated.

Rutherford says he’s pissed off that the Consumer Product Safety Commission hasn’t finished extra to offer protection to youngsters from the batteries. He helps the passage of a legislation to make merchandise with lithium batteries, child-proof whilst requiring caution labels and protection knowledge that’s evident to adults.


“Honestly, I never looked at a button battery and worried about it being swallowed. I look at them a lot differently now,” he added.

We contacted the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and whilst the company says it can not touch upon explicit instances, a spokesperson advised News4JAX the bigger button batteries — like the one who injured Billie Jo Burr’s granddaughter Ava Kate, are known as coin cells, and they’ve the next voltage than others. CPSC says they’re extra hazardous and are related to extra severe and deadly instances, including, “It is most important to get the child to the emergency room as soon as possible if you believe a child has ingested a coin cell.”

Currently, within the United States, there are not any obligatory requirements for button batteries. Voluntary Standards necessities for child-resistant packaging, caution labels, and keep-out-of-reach pictograms are required for lithium coin cellular packaging. And, the CPSC says team of workers is operating with business officers on caution labels and pictograms for the non-lithium button battery packaging.


Reese’s Law

U.S. Rep. John Rutherford speaks with News4JAX anchor Mary Baer about his reinforce for “Reese’s Law’ to increase regulations on products with lithium batteries. (WJXT)

Congressman Rutherford says Reese’s Law has bipartisan support in Congress but says it needs “more attention.” Rutherford encourages you to contact your lawmaker and tell them to co-sponsor the bill. Find your congress member here.

Billie Jo Burr is urging people to support Reese’s Law by going to and then clicking the red “take action” button to sign the petition.

Burr says she is grateful for her granddaughter’s eventual recovery. She shared with News4JAX one of the prayers she sent up during the painful process:

“I ask that you be with all of us, her family. Provide faith, and the ability to see your hand in all of this to grow closer to you throughout her miraculous healing process. Amen. Thank you.”


Ava Kate was able to recover from the injuries and procedures caused by a lithium button battery that she accidentally swallowed when she was 10-months-old.

Know the dangers

Complications from ingesting a button battery can be deadly. Between 1977 and 2020 at least 65 children died. And doctors say even after the battery is removed, the tissue damage can continue to worsen — for up to two weeks.

If a button battery is ingested, immediately seek medical attention. But, unless you’ve seen a child ingest one, it can be difficult to know it’s even happened. Experts say a child may not be able to tell an adult. Even many first responders have a tough time determining if that’s what’s happened.

The child can present with flu-like conditions, wheezing, and coughing, but no other indications that they’ve swallowed a lithium battery that’s burning the inside of their throat.

The CPSC urges adults to hold all remotes and electronics with button batteries out of the attain of kids — particularly in the event that they don’t have a screw to safe them. And when discarding button batteries, the CPSC says to put them in a child-resistant container, akin to a tablet bottle, and discard them in a battery assortment heart. The CPSC says in a single incident, a baby got rid of the coin cellular from the trash.

Copyright 2022 by means of WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

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