Kidsafe Victoria working to protect children from button battery danger
In Australia an estimated 20 children per week present to an emergency department with an injury related to a button battery.
Kidsafe Victoria, in partnership with Safer Care Victoria, has launched a new statewide campaign raising awareness of the dangers of button batteries from the Kidsafe Victoria Child Injury Prevention Hub at Monash Children’s Hospital.
The launch comes in the lead up to the Royal Melbourne Show, a time when the Poisons Information Centre sees a spike in calls regarding button batteries.
As part of the campaign, a number of resources have been developed for clinicians, GPs and the general public. The resources will be distributed to hospitals, GPs, maternal and child health centres, together with a social media campaign run through Kidsafe Victoria’s Facebook page.
Dr Adam West, Monash Children’s Hospital Director of Emergency Medicine highlighted the importance of early detection and removal of button batteries if they are ingested.
“Injuries from button batteries can require multiple surgeries – the damage can be severe and any delays in removing the batteries can lead to serious and life threatening complications” said Dr West.
Jason Chambers, Kidsafe Victoria General Manager, said that button batteries are found in many common household items including remote controls, calculators, bathroom scales, car keys, toys, watches, talking books/cards and flameless candles.
“Children often have easy access to these common household items. The button batteries can also be invisible to parents and carers as many devices come with the batteries already installed”, said Mr Chambers.
If swallowed, button batteries can become stuck in a child’s throat and burn through the oesophagus in less than 2 hours.
Kidsafe Victoria is urging all parents and carers to undertake a button battery survey of their home, including areas such as desks and drawers where spare or used button batteries may be stored.
If you suspect a child has ingested a button battery, the advice is that time is critical so don’t wait for them to show symptoms.
“If you believe a child has ingested a button battery, the new advice is to call the Poisons Information Centre urgently on 13 11 26 for expert advice on what to do 24 hours a day, 7 days a week”, said Mr Chambers.
Button battery safety tips
- Look for devices in your home that contain button batteries.
- Examine devices and make sure the battery compartment is secure.
- Keep button batteries locked away out of the sight and reach of children.
- Dispose of old button batteries immediately and safely.
- If you suspect a child may have swallowed a button battery, call the Poisons Information Centre urgently on 13 11 26 for expert advice on what to do 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Tell others about the dangers and share these steps.
Parents and carers can access more information about how to reduce the risk posed by button batteries, including copies of the new campaign resources, via the Kidsafe Victoria website: www.kidsafevic.com.au/home-safety/button-batteries
Watch the full Channel Nine News story below: