Button batteries are small, round, silver-coloured batteries that come in many different sizes and types. They power many of our devices at home to make our lives more convenient.
Most button batteries pass through the body without a problem. But if a lithium coin cell battery gets stuck in the food pipe, energy from the battery reacts with saliva to create caustic soda. This is the same chemical used to unblock drains!
This can burn through the food pipe, to the main artery and lead to catastrophic internal bleeding and death. The chemical reaction can happen in as little as two hours. However, sometimes it takes days or even weeks.
Lithium coin cell batteries can also cause life-changing injuries. There is a risk that the food pipe is too badly damaged for a child to eat normally again or the vocal cords are too badly damaged for a child to speak normally again.
Click on the video button to the left to watch a video by the Child Accident Prevention Trust which shows the harm a button battery can cause.