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Study finds button batteries are being swallowed more often by children in U.S.

Posted at 5:45 AM, Apr 12, 2019

(NBC News) A growing number of young children are being treated in emergency rooms after swallowing potentially dangerous items.

Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital In Columbus, Ohio found that between 1995 and 2015 nearly 800,000 kids under age 6 were seen in an emergency room after ingesting some kind of foreign object.

Kids swallow coins, toys, jewelry, nails and screws, but it’s button batteries that rates of such ER visits have been increasing over time.

Button battery-related emergency visits more than doubled over the study period, now averaging more than 2,500 hospital visits each year.

Doctors say that’s in part because kids have more access to button batteries, now found in many electronic devices.

Nationwide Children’s hospital said the battery creates “a hydroxide-rich, alkaline solution” that can dissolve tissue when it is swallowed. This can cause esophageal perforation, vocal cord paralysis and erosion into the airway or major blood vessels.

The study also found that giving children honey after swallowing the battery afterward could help prevent some damage until they are able to get to a hospital to have the battery removed.

Experts remind caregivers to keep electronic devices like remote controls, thermometers and watches out of kids’ reach.

Click here to view the study.