Injuries including death can occur within 1 to 2 hours after swallowing or inserting a button battery
Button batteries can get stuck in a child’s throat without blocking their airway - you may not even know that it is in there. The only way to tell if a button battery has been swallowed is by x-ray.
Around 20 children present to a hospital every week in Australia with suspected button battery ingestion or insertion. One child a month has serious injuries often requiring multiple surgeries with some experiencing lifelong consequences.
Remember that even if your child says they haven’t swallowed a battery does not mean they haven’t. If you suspect that a battery may have been swallowed - you must act quickly.
Why button batteries cause so much damage
Button batteries cause injuries because:
an electrical current generated by the battery causes burns especially if it becomes stuck in the throat or oesophagus which can cause perforation and even death
direct pressure tissue damage
leakage of alkaline chemicals from the battery
as well as batteries being a choking hazard for young children.
Symptoms caused by swallowing a button battery are not unique and can look like many other illnesses.
Button batteries can get stuck in a child’s throat without blocking their airway - you may not even know that it is in there.
Symptoms when there are delays in seeking medical treatment
Delays in seeking medical treatment can occur if a child does not tell you or is unable to tell you that they have accidentally swallowed, inhaled or inserted a battery.
These delays increase the risk of severe injuries.
Warning from the Medical Director at Women's and Children's Hospital
A warning about button battery injuries from the Medical Director of the Emergency Department at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
Use of the information and data contained within this site or these pages is at your sole risk.
If you rely on the information on this site you are responsible for ensuring by independent verification its accuracy, currency or completeness.
This site includes links to other websites operated by community, business and government.
These linked websites will have their own terms and conditions of use and you should familiarise yourself with these.
All linked websites are linked 'as is' and the Government of South Australia:
does not sponsor, endorse or necessarily approve of any material on websites linked from or to this Site;
does not make any warranties or representations regarding the quality, accuracy, merchantability or fitness for purpose of any material on websites linked from or to this Site;
does not make any warranties or representations that material on other websites to which this site is linked does not infringe the intellectual property rights of any person anywhere in the world; and
does not authorise the infringement of any intellectual property rights contained in material in other websites by linking this site to those other websites.
If you use automatic language translation services in connection with this site you do so at your own risk.
The information and data on this site is subject to change without notice. The Government of South Australia may revise this disclaimer at any time by updating this posting.
The Government of South Australia, its agents, instrumentalities, officers and employees:
make no representations, express or implied, as to the accuracy of the information and data contained on this site
make no representations, express or implied, as to the accuracy or usefulness of any translation of the information on this site or any linked website into another language
make no representations as to the availability of the site and the availability of websites linked from or to the site
accept no liability however arising for any loss resulting from the use of the site and any information and data or reliance placed on it (including translated information and data)
make no representations, either expressed or implied, as to the suitability of the said information and data for any particular purpose
accepts no liability for any interference with or damage to a user's computer, software or data occurring in connection with or relating to this Site or its use or any website linked to this site
do not represent or warrant that applications or payments initiated through this site will in fact be received or made to the intended recipient. Users are advised to confirm the application or payment by other means.