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How Are Batteries Harmful to Toddlers?

by Kathy Gleason, studioD

Batteries are everywhere in your home. They are in toys, electronics, remote controls and personal care items. Many times you probably don't even think about them or about the potential hazard they can pose for your toddlers. While batteries are not something to freak out about, parents do need to be aware of the risks and take appropriate precautions.

Button Batteries

Button batteries are often found in items that your toddler comes in contact with. Button batteries are found in electronic greeting cards, small remote controls, flameless candles, watches and certain baby and toddler toys such as light up pacifiers or those that double as thermometers. While all batteries can be dangerous, what makes button batteries a particular risk is that they are so small, you may not realize the child has swallowed one right away. However, swallowing this type of battery is dangerous because it can lead to severe burns of the esophagus or stomach, or choking.

Choking Risk

Another potential threat from batteries is that it's possible for toddlers to choke on batteries. AA or AAA batteries in particular are small enough for a child to easily fit in her mouth, and choking can result.

Battery Acid

In addition to the risks of internal burns and choking, batteries pose other risks. For example, chewing on batteries can cause severe burns in the mouth, and it's also possible that battery acid, either in liquid form or in dried flakes, can get into the eyes, causing pain, burning or even blindness.

How to Be Cautious

Ensure that toddlers are supervised at all times. Check toys regularly to ensure the battery compartments are securely fastened. Buy items with screw-on battery compartments whenever possible to keep your little sweetie from just being able to pop the back of the battery compartment off and access the batteries. Never leave toddlers alone to play with electronic greeting cards or watches.

What To Do

If you suspect that your toddler came in contact with or consumed battery acid, call a poison control hot line or take the child to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible. If you know where the batteries came from, bring that item with you too. Don't force a child to vomit unless medical personnel advise it.

About the Author

Kathy Gleason is a freelance writer living in rural northern New Jersey who has been writing professionally since 2010. She is a graduate of The Institute for Therapeutic Massage in Pompton Lakes, N.J. Before leaving her massage therapy career to start a family, Gleason specialized in Swedish style, pregnancy and sports massage.

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