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What to do if a child swallows a battery

 
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Do you know the symptoms a child will develop after swallowing a button battery and who to call?

If you think a child has swallowed a button battery, call 000 immediately.

Button batteries can cause serious internal burns or death when swallowed.

Their shiny appearance and size—from 5 to 25mm in diameter—makes them attractive to small children.

Serious internal burns can develop quickly.

A child who has swallowed a button battery may start to gag or choke, drool, suffer chest pains, cough or breathe noisily. They may vomit blood or refuse food, have bloody bowel motions or nose bleeds or an unexplained fever.

All early childhood service providers should ensure button battery-powered products are kept to a minimum and strategies put in place for the safe storage and disposal of batteries.

Even flat batteries contain enough electrical current to seriously injure a child when swallowed.

Educators are asked to monitor any toys and sing-along books that are brought to the service from home.

And in the lead-up to Christmas and other celebrations, it is advisable that educators inspect fairy lights, flashing decorations and gifts for button batteries.

Only products designed for children under 3 are required to have secure battery compartments that pass drop testing.

Report products of concern to the Office of Fair Trading and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The Queensland Poisons Information Centre on 131 126 offers fast expert advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


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Last updated 23 November 2020