They’re increasingly used in our homes as new technology has developed, and can now be found in almost every home.
And if a child swallows a button battery and it gets stuck in the throat or stomach, it will react with body fluids to create caustic soda, which can cause severe burns and sometimes fatal injuries, as revealed in a new report from the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch, released following the awful death of a three-year-old.
But despite this, our new research has revealed that a third of parents – 33 per cent – don’t realise how harmful they can be.
In our survey of more than 2,000 parents in the UK, more than a quarter (29 per cent) admit their child has choked on or swallowed something they shouldn’t have left lying around, showing how easy it can be for a child to discover a button battery and put it in their mouth.
The other, major issue with button batteries is that, generally, they are not choking hazards, and symptoms of any kind may not present for a while, as early issues are only internal. And yet, over half of our surveyed parents (53 per cent) believe choking would be the first warning sign that their child had swallowed a button battery.
Due to their inquisitive nature, children under the age of five are most at risk of accidentally swallowing small household items, like button batteries. Often parents don’t even realise the products that use them, and they potentially won’t know the child has swallowed them until they become ill.
Do you know what items around your home contain button batteries?
More than half of parents surveyed have them in their watches, while 44 per cent discovered they were using button batteries in their car keys – and two out of every five parents found button batteries in their children’s toys and games. If there are any spare batteries or packs of batteries, make sure they’re stored safely out of reach.
It’s also incredibly important to dispose of button batteries safely, as they are still a risk even when they’ve stopped working in your household items. More than half of our parents say they’re unaware how to dispose of them safely, with 58 per cent wrongly chucking used button batteries in the bin. If you remove a “dead” battery, store it securely, and recycle it as soon as possible.
Further findings showed that many parents are unintentionally creating an unsafe environment for their children by not making sure harmful items are kept out of reach. Some parents admit they didn’t realise the importance of putting child locks on kitchen doors (14 per cent) cupboards (12 per cent) and medicine cabinets (nine per cent).
Further information on how to keep your children safe from button batteries, see www.rospa.com/button-batteries
Ashley Martin, public health adviser
Posted: 6/27/2019 2:55:46 PM