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Button batteries threat to children

BUTTON batteries which are swallowed by young children can be potentially life-threatening, researchers have warned.

If these batteries get lodged in the oesophagus and airways they pose a great risk of fatal, life-threatening or disabling outcomes, according to a report in the latest edition of the Irish Medical Journal (IMJ).

Research carried out in the US has shown that deaths and the majority of significant complications relating to button batteries occurred in children under four years of age.

Batteries lodged in the oesophagus can cause tissue damage as a result of electrical burns, and chemical burns.

Researchers at Temple Street Children's University Hospital reported on the case of a 16-month-old baby girl who swallowed a button battery, and was brought to the emergency department within one hour.

An X-ray confirmed that the battery had become lodged in the oesophagus. The battery was successfully removed and she was discharged to the care of her GP.

A 10-month-old baby boy also required treatment at another medical institution after swallowing a button battery.