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Does your child's toy contain lithium button batteries?

When parents purchase toys, they have an expectation that the manufacturer has created the product with a child in mind. This may mean taking into consideration the child's natural curiosity and tendency to explore. Toys made for children should be able to withstand such curiosity without placing the child in danger.

You know as well as any California parent that part of children's desire to explore includes putting objects in their mouths. A toy with a faulty design may allow hazardous parts to end up in your child's mouth. Perhaps few objects are more dangerous in a child's mouth than a lithium button battery.

Swallowing a button battery

Each year, more children's toys are automated, thus requiring the use of electricity or batteries. Lithium batteries power many hand-held video games, watches and musical greeting cards. One of the most popular toys of last year, the Fidget Spinner, contains a lithium button battery to power its lights, and even shoes with light-up heels contain battery packs.

If someone in your house receives toys or other items containing lithium button batteries, be aware of those items when your smallest children are around. A child who swallows a lithium button battery may suffer the following consequences:

  • The battery may become lodged in your child's esophagus.
  • The chemicals in the battery may react with the lining of the esophagus.
  • This chemical reaction may result in burns that increase in severity as long as the battery is present.
  • You will likely rush your child to the emergency room.
  • Doctors will probably place your child under general anesthesia and attempt to remove the battery with an endoscope and a special grasping tool.

Your child will likely require further treatment and follow-up care, depending on the severity of the burns. You can see that serious injury can occur within minutes of the child ingesting the battery. Some doctors feel this is because newer batteries are wider and have more dangerous components than older button batteries.

Danger on the rise

Emergency room doctors reported more than 3,500 incidents of ingested batteries injuring children across the country. Most of these children are younger than five years. Since more products include these tiny batteries, doctors fear the numbers could easily increase.

While you certainly understand your role as a parent to watch your children as they play and keep dangerous items from them, it is also the obligation of product manufacturers, especially those of toys, to design and construct their products so that batteries do not easily end up in the mouths of toddlers. If your child has suffered injuries from swallowing a button battery, you may wish to seek advice about your legal options.

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