Campaign highlights dangers of button batteries

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A new awareness campaign has been launched to provide guidance on how to handle button batteries safely.

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Launched by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) and the British and Irish Portable Battery Association (BIPBA), the aim of the campaign is to make those working with children, along with families, aware of the risks to children of button cell batteries, which are increasingly used in toys and everyday objects such as remote controls, and to keep children safe.

While there are lots of different sizes and types of button batteries, the CAPT says that lithium button batteries are most dangerous as they are larger and more powerful. If they get stuck in a child’s throat they can cause serious internal burns or even death within a few hours of being swallowed.

Katrina Philips, CAPT’s chief executive, said, ‘Toddlers are hugely curious and love to explore. But if they swallow a button battery, and it gets stuck in their throat, the battery’s energy can react with bodily fluids to create caustic soda. This can burn a hole through the throat and cause serious internal bleeding or even death.’

As part of the campaign, a safety pack and support is available for professionals working with children to run community-based activities for parents. The CAPT and BIPBA will also be posting safety messages on social media and their websites, including what to do if a child is suspected to have swallowed a button battery.

Frank Imbescheid, chair of the BIPBA, said, ‘This is an industry first and has never been done before in the UK. We take the safety of consumers very seriously and are delighted to partner with CAPT. We will work together to ensure that parents, families and professionals have the right information to keep children safe. Battery manufacturers are continuously working to reduce the risk of ingestion through various initiatives. We however recognise that more could be done to communicate this and our partnership with CAPT enables us to reach a much wider audience and provide information and guidance.’

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