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Button Battery Ingestion

Button batteries are ubiquitous, whether in watches, remote controls, or children's toys. They are also extremely dangerous when swallowed. When they reach the esophagus, they can generate an electric current which can lead to electric and chemical burns in minutes. If left too long, they can cause severe damage to the esophagus, leading to perforation and death.

If you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery, head to the Emergency Department immediately. Having a GI or ENT specialist remove them rapidly is the best way to minimize damage.

This new study (done by specialists at CHOP) looked to see if common household liquids, foods, or medicine could prevent damage from button battery ingestions. What they found was that honey was actually quite effective at reducing the damage caused by button batteries. (They also found the same benefit from a medicine called Carafate (sucralfate), but most of us don't have this in our homes.)

If a child swallows a button battery, the researchers recommend giving 1 teaspoon of honey every 5-10 minutes while on your way to the Emergency Department. The honey will not 100% prevent harm, only reduce the severity. The battery still needs to be removed immediately

Obviously, keeping button batteries out of young children's hands is the best way to prevent injury. Make sure the battery covers on children's toys area attached firmly. Keep extra button batteries high and out of children's reach.

At the end of the Inquirer article, the author repeats the recommendation that infants under one year never be given honey (rarely, it has been associated with a disease called infantile botulism). Certainly, well infants under one year should never be given honey. We think this situation is an exception. If your child swallows a button battery, the benefit of honey greatly outweighs the risk.

Posted: 6/21/2018 8:42:22 AM by Paul Matz | with 0 comments


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