Reminder: Keep Button Batteries Out Of Kids' Reach

5:49 PM, Dec 19, 2013   |    comments
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A week from now, children all over the Triad will have opened and started playing with their toys.

But there's a danger we want to remind you about before playtime starts. Button Batteries. Dr. Kathy Graziano said, "The chances of something bad happening when you swallow a battery is not very high, but when something bad does happen, it's life threatening." Sometimes the battery will pass right through the system. Other times, it gets stuck, and the battery chemicals can react with the body's tissues.

Karla Rauch's son, Emmett, swallowed a button battery from a remote control when he was a year old. The battery's chemicals burned two holes in his esophagus. His parents got him to the hospital in time to save his life, but he'll face challenges for the rest of his life. Karla said, "He doesn't eat by mouth - he requires a feeding tube to feed him and he uses a trac to breathe and a vent at night to give his lungs support." Now, she and her family are advocates for button battery safety. She said, "Not everybody has a swimming pool but everybody has batteries in their home and they are kind of that invisible danger."

Batteries can also cause permanent damage if placed in the nose or ears. The National Poison Center reported 3,435 button battery ingestions in 2012 alone. 65 percent of those cases were by children under the age of six.

Putting it in perspective, of those 3,435 cases, 1,785 had no effect --  meaning the battery passed without causing damage. But 338 had some kind of injury, with 17 of those being major injuries. Two children died.

A couple years ago, Mark Geary showed how the battery can interact with the body, by putting a battery in a hot dog. You could hear is sizzling immediately. And after only a couple hours, the battery had burned through the hot dog.

Button batteries are in more objects that your kids may have access to than you think. Musical greeting cards, remote controls, games, toys, calculators, hearing aids, thermometers, bathroom scales, key fobs, holiday ornaments, cameras, and electronic candles.  The key for parents is to remember to keep the batteries out of reach of kids. If you think they've swallowed a button battery, get to an emergency room IMMEDIATELY.

So how's Emmett doing now? He's now four-years-old, and last year had a surgery to have his esophagus replaced. He's still has a long way to go, but just last month, a group called Room For Joy gave Emmett and his brother room makeovers. Emmett got a "Cars" room, while Ethan's room is now Star Wars.

WFMY News 2, KPNX

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