Button batteries - Who is most at risk?

Why young children are most at risk

While we are all at risk, the peak age for button battery related injuries is in children aged five years and under. Even infants can swallow batteries before they are crawling. Older siblings could possibly feed batteries to infants.

Most severe injuries happen when parents and carers are not aware that a child has swallowed a battery. This is more common with pre-verbal or non-verbal children but it also happens if children don’t tell anyone they have swallowed a battery if they might be frightened of possible repercussions such as punishment or going to the doctor, or they simply might not remember or think it is important to tell anyone.

Make sure the Poisons Information Centre phone number (13 11 26) is clearly visible on your home phone and stored in your mobile phone.

Adults and older children

Adults might also accidentally swallow button batteries and need medical treatment. This most frequently happens with batteries found in hearing aids. Button batteries can be accidentally swallowed when people hold batteries in their mouths while changing them or if batteries are left out near medications and might be mistaken for a pill or tablet. Hearing aid batteries can look like medicines especially in the dark.

A warning to all parents and carers

A warning about button battery injuries from the Medical Director of the Emergency Department at the women’s and children’s hospital

Also in this section

Further information

For more information about button batteries and how to make your home safe: