THIS is what you should do if your child eats a button battery
For the majority of us, our homes are filled with small electronic devices, from remote controls to thermometers, scales, calculators, cameras, watches and tiny, noisy toys.
Most of these contain those tiny, shiny button batteries that, to a curious child, can look a lot like something edible.
Something which, unfortunately, can prove fatal.
In the US alone, the Academy of American Pediatrics (AAP) estimate that a whopping 2,500 of these tiny batteries are consumed by kids each year.
In other words, keep these batteries far, far away from young children and babies. Triple-tape over battery compartments – or even better; keep all these devices in places where chidren cannot reach them.
If ingested, these batteries can cause significant issues for kids, as the AAP explains: “When lodged in the body, the electric current in a button battery rapidly increases the pH of the tissue adjacent to the battery, causing significant tissue injury even within two hours.”
The thing is, unfortunately, despite our best efforts to always keep our children out of harms way, accidents do happen.
So if you know or suspect that your child has ingested a button battery, you should call 112 or take them to your nearest ER straight away. Do not delay—because the more time that progresses, the more likely serious harm can be done. And remember, even if you are unsure, take them anyway, and let the doctors help you eliminate the concern.
Go to the ER, but do this straight away.
In an emergency like this, minutes can feel like hours, and so experts at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) recently shared a fantastic and proven way to help protect your child while you are waiting to get to the ER or be seen by a doctor.
According to a study presented by the research team at CHOP, it turns out that giving your kid some spoonfuls of honey as you are waiting for them to be seen can protect them from developing some of the most dire symptoms of button battery ingestion. Yes, honey.
(Note: Honey is NOT the treatment. The treatment is calling 112 or heading to the ER immediately, but while you wait for treatment, you feed the child some honey.)
As for how the honey helps, according to the study, it can act as “a protective barrier” between your body’s vulnerable tissues and the highly caustic battery. Additionally, honey can serve to “neutralise harsh alkaline levels” that the battery excretes into the body.
"Honey demonstrated the most protective effects against button battery injury, making the injuries more localised and superficial,” said Kris R. Jatana, Co-Principal Investigator of the study.
Explaining how to administer the honey, Dr. Ian N. Jacobs, paediatric otolaryngologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), says:
"Our recommendation would be for parents and caregivers to give honey at regular intervals before a child is able to reach a hospital, while clinicians in a hospital setting can use sucralfate before removing the battery.”
However, there are some exceptions, according to the experts. Honey should be avoided by children under the age of one, and not consumed by children who have known sepsis or perforation of the oesophagus.