Festive tea lights, singing Santa’s and of course some toys that will be gifts this Christmas are powered by lithium button batteries, many of them easily accessible to curious little fingers.

Keep potentially dangerous products out of reach of babies, toddlers and small children, and be equally careful about where you store spare and used batteries. Even a flat battery has enough power to cause serious harm if it gets stuck in a child’s throat. Modern devices need a lot of power. When power levels drop, we think the battery is flat and discard it. But it can still have enough electrical charge left to badly injure a child.

Small children put everything in their mouths, with potentially lethal consequences. Most button batteries pass through the body without a problem. If a button battery, particularly a lithium coin battery gets stuck in the throat or gullet, energy from the battery reacts with saliva to make the body create caustic soda. This is the same chemical used to unblock drains.

This can burn a hole through the throat and can lead to catastrophic internal bleeding and death. The reaction can happen in as little as two hours.

All batteries pose a risk to children! But the size and power of button batteries and the size of the child matter. With a large, powerful lithium coin cell battery and a small child, the risks are greatest.

Spare batteries are culprits too. Some lithium button batteries are individually sealed in the packet and can only be removed with scissors. Some packets, especially cheaper ones, once opened, all the batteries come out. So spares end up being stored in open containers or even loose in a drawer.

Keep Children Safe……
• Keep all spare batteries in a sealed container out of children’s reach and sight, ideally in an out of reach cupboard.
• Keep products with batteries well out of reach if the battery compartment isn’t secured.
• Put ‘flat’ or ‘dead’ batteries out of reach straight away and recycle them safely.  Most supermarkets have specific waste receptacles for the disposal of used batteries.
• Avoid toys from markets, discount stores or temporary shops as they may not conform to safety regulations including a “CE” mark, and take care when buying online toys from overseas.
• Teach older children that button batteries are dangerous and not to play with them or give them to younger brothers and sisters.