Increase in Fatal Swallowing Accidents Caused by Small Batteries

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that many swallowing accidents are associated with small batteries. Between the years 1997 and 2010, there were about 40,400 trips made to the emergency room for children ages 12 and younger. 

More than half of the incidences in which the battery was known involved button batteries. The report identifies these as a battery with a diameter greater than its height, depending on the width. It mentions batteries greater than or equal to 20mm in diameter as especially concerning because they may lodge in the esophagus. 

Sadly, 14 children between the ages of seven months and three years old died. In 12 of the fatal cases, the battery was known to be a button battery, and in 10 cases was described as a 20mm, 3-volt lithium battery. 

Another study that appeared in the journal Pediatrics covered two decades (1990 to 2009). It indicated there were 65,788 emergency room visits for battery swallowing in children under the age of 18 years old. 

The CDC report cites research from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), noting that battery-related injuries may be the result of leaking alkaline electrolytes from the battery or a buildup of hydroxide, which it notes has been associated with severe injury or death when the battery is lodged in the esophagus. Other risks also may exist. 

Unless the parent sees the child swallow the battery or the child admits to having done so, diagnosis can be difficult because symptoms may be non-specific. Symptoms, according to the report, might include: 

  • vomiting;
  • abdominal pain;
  • fever;
  • diarrhea;
  • respiratory distress; and
  • difficulty swallowing. 

Contacting a New York Dangerous Product Lawyer 

Talk with a New York dangerous product lawyer about the legal options that may be available if you or a loved one is injured. The law firm of Gacovino, Lake & Associates is here to help. Call us today at 1-800-246-4878. 

Related Posts