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'Button batteries' pose risk to children: study

September 5, 2012

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Atlanta – More than 40,000 children younger than 13 were treated in emergency departments for ingesting batteries – most the size of buttons – between 1997 and 2010, according a study from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Researchers compared data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System with injury and death certificate data. Among the findings:

  • Three-quarters of injuries occurred among children 4 or younger.
  • Of reported battery types, 58 percent were the size of a button (20 millimeters or smaller in diameter).
  • Fourteen fatalities occurred among children between 7 months and 3 years old.

Button-sized batteries can lodge in the esophagus, leading to serious health consequences or death, the report stated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends parents keep button-sized batteries and the products that use them, such as remote controls, away from young children.

The study was published in the Aug. 31 edition of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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