It happened just after Christmas. Two-year-old Brianna Florer had just spent a wonderful Christmas at her grandparents’ house with her siblings and parents.
Two days later, she was rushed to hospital with a fever, blood in her vomit and skin that had turned blue. Doctors tried desperately to operate on her for two hours but it was too late- the bleeding wouldn’t stop.
Brianna had swallowed a coin lithium battery, and it killed her.
According to a report on the horrifying incident on reshareworthy.com, the National Capitol Poison Center in Washington, D.C. says there have been 11,940 battery-swallowing incidents involving children under the age of 6 nationally in the last 9 years.
Of those cases, 15 children died, and another 101 children have suffered major medical problems. Ingesting the batteries causes them to break down on contact with body liquids. The tiny technology also causes problems when placed in the nose or ears.
The common coin batteries can, scarily enough, be found in many regular household items including electronic devices and toys, mini remote controls, car key fobs, calculators, bathroom scales, reading lights, flameless candles, talking books, singing greeting cards, watches, thermometers, hearing aids, flashing jewelry, ornaments, games and toys.
In 2014, engineers in the U.S developed a coating for button batteries that can act as a protective sealant but it has yet to be applied to all button batteries, globally.
The new coating only conducts electricity when the battery is squeezed and put under pressure in its spring-loaded compartment. When its not being squeezed, the battery is inactive and safe, lessening the terrible effects that can occur when one is ingested.
Today.com offers the following advice on button batteries:
- Keep loose batteries out of the reach and sight of children. Use duct tape to secure remote controls and other devices with these batteries
- Do not allow children to play with batteries.
- Store new and used batteries like medication, out of the reach of children or in a locked cabinet.
- Check to see if battery compartments on toys and other household products are secured.
- Secure (using strong tape) battery compartments of toys and other household products.
- If battery compartments are loose or broken, keep product out of the reach of children.
- Try to purchase products with battery compartments that require a tool to open.
- Never change batteries in front of children.
- Call Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) and seek immediate medical attention if a battery has been swallowed. A lithium battery begins to burn within two hours.
- Tell doctors and nurses that it might be a button battery.
- If possible, provide the identification number found on the battery’s package.
- Do not let the child eat or drink until a chest X-ray can determine if a battery is present
- Do not induce vomiting.