Posted August 25, 2012on:
A recent study looked at 20 years worth of data from emergency departments in the USA about children who had attended following a battery related incident. Whilst incidents were rare at 4.6 hospital visits per 100,000 children in the population that amounted to an average 3289 visits annually. The study looked at four scenarios – swallowing batteries (which accounted for 76.6% of visits), and putting them in the mouth (7.5%), the ear canal (5.7%) and the nose (10.2%). And it was most likely to happen in the under 5′s (mean age 3.9 years). More than 8 out of 10 visits were related to button batteries which are widely used in hearing aids, cochlear implants and other electronic devices. It’s also worth considering that the magnets used in some cochlear implant coils are a similar size and shape to button batteries and could also be a potential hazard. This means that audiologists and parents of young deaf children need to be aware of the risks and ensure children’s equipment is used safely:
- Make sure young children have childproof battery locks fitted to their hearing aids so that they can’t remove the battery themselves.
- Try not to let young children see batteries being changed. It is safer if they do not know that the battery compartment opens.
- Ensure both the used and new batteries are stored safely and out of sight of young children.
- Keep your used batteries in the original packaging so that you can be sure that no old batteries have gone missing and to keep the batteries safe.
- Remember that even if you trust your own child not to fiddle with their batteries there may be other children in their school or nursery who don’t understand that they shouldn’t play with them.
Fortunately the majority of battery related injuries aren’t serious and can be easily treated. But occassionally injuries are serious so it is important to follow up any concerns you may have immediately. If you are concerned that your child may have swallowed a battery or put one somewhere they shouldn’t – take them to your nearest A&E department. Take a similar battery and the packaging with you so that the hospital staff can identify the type of battery and know what action they need to take.