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How Dangerous Are Button Batteries?

In Viral X-Ray Tweet, Doctor Warns About the "Lifelong Damage" Small Batteries Can Cause Kids

We all know we should keep buttons out of children's reach, but to help illustrate why we all need a reminder, one doctor shared an X-ray image that's since gone viral on Twitter.

The scan showed a small button battery, also known as a disc battery, lodged in a baby's esophagus. In her tweet, Dutch pediatric gastroenterologist Lissy de Ridder revealed that it is the third such battery she's removed in a few short days.

"Removed three disk batteries only this week, stuck in esophagus of babies and toddlers," she wrote. "Damage is severe and lifelong in one of them. Truly individual and societal disaster. Parents, be warned!"


Before you think you don't need such a warning, it's worth noting that many small battery-operated toys use these batteries, and they are the batteries found in those musical greeting cards – which are often given to kids despite how easy it is to remove the battery from the card's backing.

If button batteries are swallowed, they can not only become lodged in a child's esophagus, as de Ridder, noted, but they can burn a hole through the tissue in as little as two hours – once ingested, every second counts. In some cases, it can be fatal.

Her message is also for her fellow doctors as well, as they are sometimes misidentified as a more harmless coin by novice clinicians.

Parents, please consider avoiding any toys or products that use button batteries so there's no risk of them finding their way into your children's hands.

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