As parents, we know to keep coins away from children as they could – and do – swallow them. There is another item the size of a coin that could be much more dangerous if swallowed: button batteries. Many of us have them in our car remotes and other small remotes used around the house.

The danger

When a coin-sized button battery gets stuck in a child’s throat, saliva can trigger an electrical current. This causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the child’s esophagus in as little as two hours. Once the burning reaction begins, it can continue even after the battery is removed. Repairing the damage is painful and can require feeding tubes, breathing tubes and multiple surgeries. In some cases, children have died.

Keep items that use button batteries out of reach of small children. This especially is true if the battery compartment is not secure and can be opened easily. If you think your child has swallowed a battery, go to the emergency room right away.

Share this video with your friends and family to help to get the word out about this danger:

So while we pull out the holiday decorations or purchase toys for holiday gifts, don’t forget to secure the batteries. For more information, visit

Libby Slavin– Libbe Slavin, coordinator, Safe Kids Wisconsin

A member of Safe Kids Worldwide, Safe Kids Wisconsin works to prevent accidental injuries, the leading cause of death among children 14 years of age and younger. The coalition combines the expertise of Safe Kids coalitions and chapters statewide to prevent childhood injuries through collaboration, education, policy and advocacy initiatives. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is its lead agency.


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