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HHS HealthBeat (May 31, 2012)

Swallowed batteries

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Button batteries are good for electronics but very bad for kids. Researchers report more than 5,500 battery-related emergency department visits in 2009 by people under age 18. Children ages 5 and under accounted for more than three quarters of them.

Button batteries can burn a hole in the esophagus in less than two hours. At the Center for Injury Research and Policy of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, Dr. Gary Smith:

“If a parent thinks that their young child has swallowed a button battery, they need to go immediately to the emergency department to have an X-ray done. They need to tell them that they think it’s a button battery because the clock is ticking.”

The study in the journal Pediatrics was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: May 31, 2012