It’s hard to imagine that something as tiny as a button could kill your child.
But that’s exactly what happened to one Oklahoma toddler after she ingested a small, coin-sized battery.
Family members of little Brianna Florer — who were unaware she had swallowed the the battery in the first place — say there were no warning signs she was in serious distress until it was too late. On Dec. 27, Brianna was rushed to a hospital shortly after she started throwing up large amounts of blood. An X-ray revealed she had swallowed a battery the size of a nickel.
“They operated on her for 2½ hours, but they couldn’t stop the bleeding,” her grandfather, Kent Vice, told Fox8News. “They believed the battery ate through to her carotid artery by way of her esophagus.”
Little Brianna died just three days after Christmas.
According to the National Capital Poison Center (NCPC) in Washington, D.C., there were a total of 11,940 battery-swallowing incidents nationwide between 2005 and 2014 that involved children younger than 6. Of these incidents, 101 children experienced major medical problems and 15 children died.
Although a button battery can pass through the digestive system, serious trouble begins if it becomes lodged in the esophagus or digestive tract. The battery can actually open and release an alkaline substance that causes burning injuries. Electrical current can also to go through the tissue, wreaking even more havoc.
“The electrical current is causing more damage because it is splitting the water surrounding the button battery and forming hydroxide, which is an ingredient in lye. Imagine dropping little tiny drops of lye in one place in the esophagus,” Dr. Toby Litovitz, an NCPC physician, told NewsOK.
This lye substance perforates a child’s esophagus and enters tissue nearby, whether it’s the trachea or the aorta, Litovitz explained. Severe complications have also been observed when small batteries are lodged in the nose or ear, he noted.
Unfortunately, these button-sized batteries can be found in most homes. Some common products that use them include: Remote controls, watches, cameras, calculators, digital thermometers, hearing aids, toys,, handheld video games, bathroom scales, garage door openers, talking books, singing greeting cards, toothbrushes, flashing shoes and more.
A few safety tips that parents to keep in mind, as provided by the National Capital Poison Center, can make the difference between life and death:
If a Battery is Swallowed or Placed in the Ear or Nose:
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