Chance are you’ve got all sorts of things around your house that run on batteries–especially “button batteries,” which are those round, flat ones. And chances are you think those batteries are are going to stay inside of whatever device they’re in. Sorry to disappoint, but you may be wrong.
Every 90 minutes, a child under 18 goes to the emergency room for a battery-related incident, according to a new study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. That’s twice the rate from 1990. The number of batteries swallowed by children more than doubled from over the past 20 years. More than 80 percent of the time, the culprit is a button battery.
A lot of toys and games have those annoying panels that you have to unscrew to insert or replace batteries. But fewer than a third of the batteries showing up in kids’ throats or stomachs are actually from toys. The rest are from products that weren’t actually meant to be used by young children, including watches (14 percent), calculators (12 percent), flashlights (9 percent) and remote controls (6 percent).
If you’ve got a child under 18 around the house, do your family a huge favor and make sure anything and everything that has a battery either has a screw-on panel or is taped securely enough so that a child can’t get into it. Then tape it again, since we all know that kids make a science of opening things they aren’t supposed to be able to open. And keep all of your spare batteries far out of the reach of your kids. Then move them even farther away.