Button battery ingestion increases

According to a recent study published in the online version of Pediatrics magazine, every three hours, a child under the age of 18 will come to the emergency room to be treated for button battery ingestion. It also shows that this rate will continue to accelerate in the coming years.

A button battery ingestion fatality was first published in medical literature in 1977 when a two and a half-year-old child swallowed a camera battery. Today, emergency rooms all over the U.S. see about 3,289 children annually for button battery ingestion.

Currently, researchers have drawn no conclusions as to why button battery ingestion has increased. They are unsure if it has to do with an increased exposure to batteries, increased severity of the exposures, or changes in health care-seeking behavior by child caregivers due to increased public knowledge of battery-related injury.

Dr. Toby Litovitz, a researcher who has published many papers on button battery ingestion, says that the increase could be linked to the emergence of the 20mm lithium coin cell as a popular household battery.

Due to this recent study, a media campaign has been launched by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the electrical manufacturers, Rayovac and the Consumer Electronics Association have also taken steps to address the situation through warnings, public education, and voluntary secure battery access standards.

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