Small button batteries are used in many household items, including toys, remote controls, watches and cameras. However, as they are so small, they can pose a serious risk - often fatal - for children. Over the last ten years there has been a significant rise in the number of severe injuries inflicted by them, and they can also cause permanent injury when placed in the nose or ears.
Although most will pass safely through the body, some can get stuck in the throat, causing tissue damage, even burns, as an electrical current can form around the outside of the battery. Parents, guardians are caregivers are advised to keep them well out of children’s reach. If one is swallowed, dial 999 if they start wheezing, coughing, gagging, choking or complain of belly or chest pain. If possible, try to get the identification of the battery number (if on a box or from a matching one). Also watch out for fever or blood in the stools and do not induce vomiting, as depending on the age of the patient and size of a battery, an X-ray may be required.