Warning: The Dangers of Button Batteries

Now that your baby is mobile, she’s probably keeping you on your toes as she explores the world around her. All of a sudden, your lovely safe home feels like an accident waiting to happen. There are table corners to bash into, wooden floors to slip on and a whole kitchen full of dangerous implements. Baby proofing your home allows you to create a safe space for your baby to explore.

You’ve probably already fitted a number of safety devices such as stair gates, cupboard locks and fire hearth pads. You may also have made some common sense changes to your home too, such as moving cleaning products to an out of reach cupboard or using only the back hobs on your cooker. However, there may still be danger lurking inside your home.

Button batteries

Button batteries are a common household item these days. They are found inside smartphones, calculators, musical cards and a huge number of children’s toys. They are small, round and similar in appearance to a button, hence the name. They contain lithium and are sometimes referred to as lithium batteries. If swallowed, they are also incredibly dangerous to children, and can cause fatal injuries in only a few hours.

When swallowed, the battery can cause an electrical charge inside the body. This can then create caustic soda, the strong chemical which is often used to unblock drains, to build up in the body. Caustic soda is a dangerous chemical that can burn through the esophagus and other major blood vessels. This bleeding can be catastrophic and impossible to stop. Sadly, a number of children die each year as a direct result of swallowing button batteries.


Many parents are simply unaware that button batteries pose a danger to children. Button batteries should be treated just like any other battery or household chemical and kept entirely out of reach of children. Some toys contain these batteries, but the battery enclosure should be protected by a screw. If it isn’t, they toy is breaking regulations and should be thrown out (and reported, if it’s a recent purchase).

This isn’t just a danger for babies and toddlers, older children have been known to swallow button batteries too. Talk to your children about the dangers of these batteries, and make sure older siblings know not to let the youngest members of the family play with button batteries.


If you think your child may have swallowed a button battery, you should seek emergency medical help immediately. Don’t wait to see if any symptoms develop, instead seek immediate assistance. In the meantime, don’t let your child eat or drink anything, and don’t induce vomiting until he or she is assessed by a medical professional.

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.