Button Batteries in Children’s Toys Pose Health Hazard

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Consumer Reports has warned parents to be on the lookout for dangers that can be presented by children’s toys that contain button batteries. Button batteries (also called coin batteries because they may resemble a small coin) are small, round batteries that have long been used in adult items such as watches, hearing aids, calculators, cameras, and pen lights. However, in recent years, the tiny batteries have found their way into items that kids use or have easy access to, such as:

  • toys;
  • gaming devices;
  • talking books;
  • portable music devices;
  • tv remote controls;
  • musical greeting cards;
  • keychains;
  • cell phones;
  • bathroom scales;
  • garage door openers; and
  • home medical equipment (like digital thermometers).

The batteries are dangerous to children because kids often mistake them for candy. In fact, according to the National Battery Ingestion Hotline, more than 8,100 cases of battery ingestion, including at least 13 deaths, have been reported since 1985. Annually, there are about 3,500 reported swallowing cases, and untold unreported cases.

Dangers Posed By Button Battery Ingestion

Sometimes when button batteries are swallowed, they will pass through the body and be eliminated in the child’s stool. However, other times these batteries can get “hung up” somewhere in the digestive tract. Depending on where the battery stops moving, certain serious problems can occur.

For example, when a child swallows a button battery (or inhales one by shoving it up the nose), the batter can get stuck in the child’s throat. If this happens, the saliva in the mouth and throat triggers an electrical current, creating a chemical reaction that can severely burn the esophagus or other area where the battery lands. If the battery does not move through the body, it can settle on internal tissue, causing bleeding and tissue damage. This damage can occur in as little as two hours, and may continue even after the battery is removed.

Symptoms That A Child May Have Swallowed A Battery

Experts report that a swallowed battery may initially cause no symptoms. However, if the battery becomes stuck in the esophagus or stomach, the following symptoms may occur:

  • stomach/abdominal pain;
  • chest pain;
  • nausea;
  • vomiting;
  • bloody stool;
  • cardiovascular collapse/shock;
  • gastrointestinal inflammation/intestinal swelling; and
  • metallic taste.

If a child inhales the battery, the child may experience:

  • breathing problems;
  • coughing;
  • pneumonia (if battery goes unnoticed for a period of time); and
  • complete respiratory failure.

Defective Toys And Dangerous Products

Children’s toys can be defective in a number of ways. Sometimes a design defect, such as where a child has easy access to a battery compartment, can create a hazard that can injure a child if the child is able to pry the compartment open. Other times, a manufacturing defect, such as an improperly secured battery compartment, can also create a danger to kids if the battery compartment cover easily pops off when the toy is dropped. Improper warnings on the appropriate age for the toy also can be a basis for product liability.

If your child was injured by a defective toy, the Tallahassee product lawyers at Fasig & Brooks will fully investigate your situation to help you obtain the maximum possible monetary award to compensate you and your child for their injuries and losses. To schedule your free consultation, call us today at (850) 222-3232 or use our online contact form for immediate and skilled legal help.