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Batteries Related Injuries and Deaths - CPSC Warning


Toddlers and Seniors Most Often Injured in Battery-Swallowing Incidents.  
Small, coin-sized batteries can be found in products in nearly every home in America. From the flashlight sitting on the table, to the remote control next to the TV, "button batteries" as they are commonly referred to, are in thousands of products used in and around the home. Young children and senior adults are unintentionally swallowing the button batteries and in some cases, the consequences are immediate and devastating.

A recent study conducted by Dr. Toby Litovitz of the National Capital Poison Center, found that button battery-related incidents resulting in severe injury and fatality have increased sevenfold since 1985. The majority of reported incidents involve 20 mm diameter, or larger, 3 volt batteries. Occasionally, a swallowed battery will pass through the intestine. Most often, however, batteries that become lodged in the throat or intestine can generate and release hydroxide, resulting in dangerous chemical burns.



Incidents most often involve children younger than four years old and senior adults. In the majority of incidents, children gain access to batteries directly from games, toys, calculators, remote controls and other items commonly left within a child's reach. Senior adults have swallowed button batteries used in hearing aids after mistaking them for pills.

Parents often are unaware that a child has swallowed the button battery, which makes it difficult to diagnose the problem. In fact, in the recent study, more than 60 percent of reported incidents initially were misdiagnosed. Symptoms resemble ailments common in children, such as an upset stomach and fever, and in some incidents, there are no symptoms at all.

CPSC recommends the following steps to prevent unintentional battery ingestion:
  • Discard button batteries carefully. 
  • Do not allow children to play with button batteries, and keep button batteries out of your child's reach. 
  • Caution hearing aid users to keep hearing aids and batteries out of the reach of children. 
  • Never put button batteries in your mouth for any reason as they are easily swallowed accidentally. 
  • Always check medications before ingesting them. Adults have swallowed button batteries mistaken for pills or tablets. 
  • Keep remotes and other electronics out of your child's reach if the battery compartments do not have a screw to secure them. Use tape to help secure the battery compartment. 
  • If a button battery is ingested, immediately seek medical attention. The National Battery Ingestion Hotline is available anytime at (202) 625-3333 (call collect if necessary), or call your poison center at (800) 222-1222. 

 Watch a video clip about the hazard of button batteries (in "streaming video" format)

Under federal law, it is illegal to attempt to sell or resell any recalled product.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, go online to: www.saferproducts.gov, call CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270 for the hearing impaired.

Consumers can obtain this news release and product safety information at www.cpsc.gov. To join a free e-mail subscription list, please go to https://www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx.

CPSC Warns: As Button Battery Use Increases, So Do Battery-Related Injuries and Deaths

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