Button batteries are in a lot of things- watches, remotes, musical greeting cards, hearing aids, calculators, and even some books. According to a pediatrician at the Billings Clinic, they are also the most dangerous kind of battery.
Dr. Patricia Notario, a pediatrician at the Billings Clinic, said, “When I was training in Chicago, there was a little kid that ingested a button battery. It ended up burning a hole through the esophagus and into the aorta. And, that child died because of internal bleeding.”
A viral video by Dr. Mike Rubin shows the effect a button battery has on meat over three hours. https://twitter.com/stopioid/status/1113951210875379712
Dr. Notario said, “Button batteries are the most dangerous kind of battery and that’s because they carry a charge even after they stop working inside an object. Once they enter the environment of the esophagus, they activate. And, they can burn within two hours of being inside the esophagus.”
Dr. Notario says the symptoms can look mild at first: coughing and throat-clearing. So, this can cause a delay in seeking treatment.
She says that button batteries can burn in three ways: the electrical current, pressure onto thin, sensitive tissue and also by leaking chemicals from the battery. That all can lead to pretty significant burns.
Dr. Notario says if you are concerned your child may have ingested a button battery, you can give a teaspoon of honey every ten minutes to the child, up to six times. This will coat the button battery and help prevent it from burning. However, this is not a replacement for emergency medical care and should be used as you are heading to the hospital emergency room.