A new report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provides more evidence of the dangers of tiny button batteries. Used to power television remotes, toys, hearing aids, greeting cards and more, the batteries are sending a growing number of children to the emergency room.
The CPSC report found that between 1997 and 2010, 40,000 children under age 13 visited emergency rooms after swallowing the tiny batteries, and 14 children died. The number of children treated for ingesting the batteries increased 2.5-fold during this period, HealthDay News reports.
The batteries pose the biggest threat if they get stuck in a child's esophagus, where they can cause serious burns in as little as two hours and fatal bleeding after two weeks, the CPSC report said.
If you see a child swallow a battery, or suspect he has, it's important to visit the emergency room right away; significant damage can occur quickly, Dr. Amanda Porro, a pediatrician at Miami Children's Hospital, told HealthDay News. She urges parents to store the batteries out of the reach of children.
The CPSC wants products with button batteries to be designed so that kids can't access the batteries. Senator Jay Rockefeller IV, (D-W.Va.), introduced a bill last year that would require all products with button batteries to be childproof.
Image: Button batteries via Shutterstock.