(BPT) - People are spending more time in their homes, and there are devices everywhere, like remotes, key fobs and thermometers that may include small lithium coin batteries that can be a hidden danger. While lithium coin batteries are important for providing the power necessary for certain devices to function properly, many people don't realize these batteries, if ingested, can be dangerous to young children.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 20mm lithium coin batteries are associated with serious injuries because they are about the same size as a child's esophagus and as a result can get lodged in their throat and burn through the surrounding tissue. Lithium coin batteries can lead to serious damage of a child's esophagus in a short period of time and can burn a hole through the tissue in as little as two hours.
Young children are curious by nature, and part of their exploration of the world around them can include putting things in their mouths. To children, the small lithium coin batteries, which are about the size of a nickel, can look like money, candy, or a toy and can be easily swallowed.
Even the most child-proofed homes can still have hidden dangers, Duracell encourages consumers to practice the following hands-on prevention steps:
Keep items out of reach of children
Many common household devices use lithium coin batteries and should be kept up high or out of reach. For example, don't leave remotes easily accessible on end tables or in drawers where children can play with them, and instead place them high on shelves or other places where they will be out of reach of children.
Personal devices that use lithium coin batteries, such as thermometers, should also be stored securely while not in use, like in a medicine cabinet or inaccessible closet space. Be sure to also lock up any unused or loose batteries and dispose of any old batteries according to local regulations. The key is preparation to make sure kids can't get to devices that use lithium coin batteries.
Take an inventory and ensure seals are tight
Take inventory of your home and all of the devices that are powered by lithium coin batteries. You may be surprised just how many items use this type of battery. Make sure to completely secure the compartment where the battery is located. This means if there is an opening that turns, be sure to make it tight until it doesn't turn anymore. If there are screws, replace and turn each one completely. If screws are missing, replace the screws or add an extra layer of seal such as with strong tape. For any compartments that are not secured, seal with tape. Periodically check these items and tighten or secure as needed.
Educate yourself and your kids
Duracell and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have teamed up to help educate parents and caregivers about the importance of lithium coin battery safety to help prevent accidental lithium coin battery ingestions. It is important to acknowledge that lithium coin batteries are in many devices, but they can be dangerous if ingested.
Additionally, make sure you have the most up-to-date information on lithium coin battery safety. Talk to your pediatrician about the latest in lithium coin battery safety and help keep your children safe. Parents can also find more information at Duracell.com and HealthyChildren.org.
Another line of defense
Some lithium coin batteries come with additional safety features, like the Duracell lithium coin battery with bitter coating, which is designed to help discourage a child from swallowing it and comes in child-secure packaging.
Get help immediately
If you suspect that a child in your care has swallowed a lithium coin battery you need to act quickly. Bring your child to the nearest emergency room immediately. If you have questions, call the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 800-498-8666 or Poison Control at 800-222-1222.