Small button batteries pose risk to children

Vancouver Island – Island Health would like to remind parents and guardians to keep button batteries out of children’s reach. These small, coin-size batteries are in many household products, making them accessible to curious children.

“All types of button batteries can be hazardous,” said Dr. Murray Fyfe, Medical Health Officer, Island Health. “Parents need to treat batteries like other dangers – store them out of sight and reach of children.”

Button batteries can cause significant medical damage or death to children who swallow them. The electrical charge in a button battery reacts with the body’s tissues and fluids, leading to internal burns in as little as two hours.

Button batteries can be found in musical greeting cards, remote controls, children’s books, flashlights, flashing jewellery, hearing aids and key chain accessories.

Follow these tips to limit your children’s access to button batteries:

•  Store all batteries out of sight and reach of children, preferably in a locked cabinet or container.
•  Do not allow children to play with button batteries or remove them from household products.
•  If a product has batteries, ensure the batteries are locked inside and that the child can’t easily access them. 
•  Discard used batteries quickly and properly.
•  Check other homes your children visit for possible access to button batteries: grandparents, family members, caregivers, and friends. 

If you suspect that your child has swallowed a battery, go to the nearest emergency department immediately and call 9-1-1.

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Central/North Island media inquiries:

Adrienne Breen
Media Relations

South Island media inquiries:

Meribeth Burton
Media Relations
Phone: 250.519.1815