Button batteries cause of high number of hospital visits for children: study

May 16, 2012

Columbus, OH – About 65,800 people younger than 18 visited emergency departments between 1990 and 2009 due to a battery exposure-related injury, according to a study from the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Center for Injury Research and Policy.

Using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, researchers found that more than three-fourths of battery-related ED visits were for children 5 or younger.

Other findings included:

  • The highest number of ED visits due to batteries involved 1-year-old children.
  • About three-fourths of ED visits involved a child swallowing a battery.
  • About 84 percent of batteries were identified as button batteries.

Researchers attribute the findings to the increasing number and variety of electronics powered by button batteries. They recommend caregivers ensure all battery compartments are sealed with tape and loose batteries are kept out of children’s reach.

The study was published online in the June issue of the journal Pediatrics.